Monday, August 01, 2005

Art: Art is beautiful, Nature is sublime

An excerpt from a longer article - Mother Nature's Blockbusters - from today's NY Times.
"The sublime defines our limits as well as our possibilities. Perhaps that is also one difference between museums and natural preserves: museums focus on human possibilities; nature can reveal our limitations. These contrasts may even echo the differences between beauty and the sublime that Edmund Burke once described. Museums are the domain of human beauty; preserves the domain of the sublime. Burke described the sublime as vast, beauty small; the sublime as rugged, beauty smooth.
These realms intertwine, but there is a hunger for the sublime not easily satisfied. Religion may invoke its sensations; pop culture may try to emulate its effects with amplified sound-and-sight spectacles. Great art sometimes achieves it. But wilderness seems to have first claim over the sublime."