pretty pictures, a defense

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

So wrote John Keats in 1819 in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” one of the five ‘great odes’ written that year.   Ever since then, those two lines are perhaps the most argued & debated lines in English poetry; their meaning & intent disputed by all the great writers and critics that followed.  If one considers Keats’ statement valid, and one agrees with his idea of beauty (symmetry, elegant, pleasing visually) one then consigns much of the modern arts (visual, aural, written) to the dustbin.   So, in response, many have stated that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ which allows them to neatly sidestep Keats’ proclamation.

You do have to admit though, that sometimes a pretty picture is a valid form of expression or that an eloquent turn of language, in its setting, is, in and of itself, beautiful (and thus truthful) at that moment of its existence.

If truth can be found in beauty, and the definition of beauty is large enough to encompass all time, all things then the simplest, prettiest, most pleasing (and its complete opposite) to any one viewer/reader/listener would fall to their own taste.  How can we (or anyone) condemn that?  All of us are entitled to our opinion regarding what we consider beautiful & meaningful & inspiring & eloquent & soothing & thought-provoking & restful & pleasing.

Isn’t their enjoyment, regardless of your opinion of their art/book/music, as valid as yours?  Of course, it is.  Beauty & its individual meaning is only accessible via the life experience of the viewer/reader/listener.   Yet at the same time, as humans we still share a common thread of understanding and passion, a uniformity of the mind if you will that allows us to appreciate & viscerally connect with that which we are unfamiliar with & perhaps afraid of or disdainful of (disdain–the first defense of the sycophant & pedant.)

It’s true that there is art, music, literature that I find abysmal, but I applaud & encourage those whose taste runs counter to mine; for finding their truth, their beauty where they can, when they can & how they can.


3 Responses to “pretty pictures, a defense”

  1. March 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Now those brightened up my day~~~
    Thank you! Really, I mean it.
    Is it Spring yet? I smell roses.

    Hello there! You’re truths look beautiful!

  2. 3 Harvest
    March 13, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Lovely pics and thoughts you share.

    I walked into my backyard and saw my first yellow rose and it was HUGE! I really don’t know how that poor rose bush keeps coming back, but it does. It goes through the most horrendous summer and yet, spring time, manages to bring forth such beauty it took my breathe away.

    All our rain has paid off.

    I love that you “get it.” Truth is beauty and beauty is truth.

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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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