It is not a secret that there is a war on art, a war against the good and beautiful. The new Vandals are on the move. And unlike the vandals of the previous generation who framed crud as art, the new Vandals tear down and destroy all art in the name of the politically correct zeitgeist. Despite the destruction, this kind of iconoclasm is nothing new. And, as in the past, Catholics must stand up for the good and beautiful in art.
Before the rise of Dada and impressionism, Western art was uniquely exceptional in the world. It was, indeed, the exception. Form and elegance, concretion and fluidity, personality and the collective, had all become features of the drama of Western art. But Western art’s exceptionalism is a product of Christianity. Nowhere else in the world was the portrait such a concern, or the drama expressed in art able to invoke such feeling, passion, and soul searching.
The seed of Western art is theology. The seed of Western art is in the first Book of Moses, known to us as the Book of Genesis. To be made in the image of God led to the rise of portrait and personality in the Christian and Western artistic tradition. The concentration on the form and personality of individuals was the way to express the anthropology of the imago Dei in art form.