And you are an artist!
Yesterday I brought out my rosewood recorder again. Of course I don’t play perfectly, my fingers are slow and my tongue is heavy. I list the notes, play one piece after another and then I remember a piece I once knew by heart… I let the melodies take me, I open my soul and I just did. Later, when I put down the flute, I am in the clouds and full of joy…
And I’m thinking about a lecture I heard recently, about “taking away the magic of the world.” One of the causes lies in the fact that art is neglected. Until the 19th century, it was quite common to express oneself through art. With the invention of the turntable and other sound carriers, anyone could play music at any time. Virtuosity emerges, great artists are celebrated like stars. The music layman leaves the artistic work to the masters, admires and applauds them and becomes only a passive consumer of art. Today, someone is “cultured” if he visits a theater, opera, or museum and allows art to influence him.
In Vienna’s Haus der Musik (House of Music), several rooms are dedicated to the great composers and cultural life of their time. The “Schubertijada” was also shown – a home concert at which Schubert presented his work to the public for the first time – entirely in the name of “salon culture”. From the 18th to the 20th century, we find music and literary salons throughout Europe, in Russia, but also in the United States. These were private social gatherings in which people gathered in the house of a lady, the so-called salonnière. There were literary, musical, but also political and scientific salons. They came not only as a listener or a spectator, but for an artistic or literary contribution, in order to give something themselves.
The families nurtured “home” music with a small number of participants, called chamber music because of that. Daughters from bourgeois families received piano and singing lessons. But art was also nurtured in the countryside: after the work was done, people would sit together and sing or play. In the spinning mill, the only heated room in the house during the winter, villagers from different estates would meet to work, talk and sing together. During the traditional celebrations, people danced and sang together.
Musical activities were an integral part of life, and I would add artistic handicrafts such as embroidery, sewing, knitting and the like. The man was creatively active and creative in many areas.
Today, most people spend their evenings in front of the TV or computer. They passively have fun or move around virtual worlds. “Cultural” life was limited to listening to music, going to the cinema, to a concert or to the theater. It is sung only on occasional occasions. Does modern life really make us richer or could it be said that we are poorer because of it…?
Four good reasons to be an artist yourself:
1. Art makes us better
According to Plato, the idea of Beauty is an archetype that we humans can most easily know. With the help of beauty in nature or in a work of art, higher feelings are awakened in us. Beauty is closely related to other archetypes: Good, Truth and Righteousness. Contact with Beauty activates the most subtle aspects of the psyche, especially when we are artistically active ourselves, thus creating Beauty as a metaphysical good. It ennobles and refines our character as well as our surroundings.
2. Art spiritualizes us
Hegel speaks of the naturally beautiful and the artistically beautiful, giving the latter greater meaning. Because artistic beauty is born of spirit and reborn beauty. He who is himself artistically active, whether he sings, dances, paints or shapes a sculpture, he realizes an idea, a spiritual image that the senses can perceive. It is beautiful to Hegel to sense the idea. Unlike an animal, man has the ability to give spiritual reality a material form – a deep spiritualizing experience.
3. Art completes us
Schiller in his letters On the Aesthetic Education of Man emphasizes the importance of play. It allows the sensory-emotional and spiritual-rational sides of man to merge. It is the game and the game itself that makes him (man) complete and develops his dual nature at the same time ((). Man is mostly himself when he plays.
In German, we can express this beautifully when we say: “Instrument spielen” (“I play an instrument”). In the game we are present here and now and surrender to divine leisure.
4. Art is worship
We must not forget the spiritual aspect. The source of all art is in the sacred. Let us remember only the cave painting of Altamira, the idol of fertility, but also the dances under masks and anthems. All these deeds arose as a kind of prayer, to be invoked or worshiped by some higher power.
1. Sing whenever you can. Alone in the shower, on a bike, in the car, with friends around a campfire or during a merry get-together. It is a miraculous remedy against bad mood, fear, stress or depressed moods.
2. If you have ever played an instrument, find it or sit down at the piano. No matter how good you are. It’s not about the result, it’s about playing. Something “power” to produce alone gives “power” and provides joy.