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I enjoy sharing some of G.K. Chesterton’s thoughts on art (did you know he was trained as an artist?) – the whiteness of chalk, the value of doing things badly, the importance of framing, whether poetry should rhyme, learning to bear the tension of paradox, etc…. So many people know other facets of his thought, or enjoy his fiction without delving into what he thought about art-making, being a creator, or the role of the artist in the Church and society.
Chesterton is a great example of a truly playful soul – one who romps around in a universe made of building blocks and filled with toys enjoying it almost as much as its Maker does. His character Innocent Smith, in Manalive, is an artistic embodiment of this fresh, childlike, world-overturning spirit.
For all his fictionality, he’s a real and true example of what it means to be a Christian adult, fearfully and wonderfully made and gloriously free. Chesterton’s Gabriel Gale solves mysteries with poetic insight and his Father Brown solves them with more of a dramatic sense, placing himself right into the character of the unknown killer in order to know him well.
It’s delightful to read Chesterton’s own comments about art in the light of what he accomplished through art himself.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]”…the artist is a person who communicates something…the moment of creation is the moment of communication. It is when the work has passed from mind to mind that it becomes a work of art.”[/su_pullquote]
[su_pullquote align=”right”]”What is now needed most is intensive imagination. I mean the power to turn our imaginations inwards, on the things we already have, and to make those things live. It is not merely seeking new experiences, which rapidly become old experiences. It is really learning how to experience our experiences. It is learning how to enjoy our enjoyments.”[/su_pullquote]