Carnahan admitted getting a little carried away with the TAGboard feature of the blog, but I think the discussion in interesting and so I wanted to open it up in a full fledged post…
I posted this in an earlier post on what looks to be O’Connor’s perspective on aesthetics, and I think that I more or less agree with it. She underlined this passage in a book that she read,
“In the Louvre there is a picture by Guido Reni of St. Michael with his foot on Satans neck. The richness of the picture is in large part due to the fiend’s figure being there. The richness of its allegorical meaning also is due to his being threre — that is, the world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck. In the religious conciousness, that is just the position in which the fiend, the negative or tragic principle is found.”
If we are going to portray evil in art, can the evil run free? Is there less beauty to a world that is devoid of evil? (FWIW, I don’t think you can reduce this quote to be saying this, but I am still asking the question) I haven’t read the Silmarillion, but I recall being told that when evil broke out in Tolkien’s heaven of music making angel characters, his God character simply incorporated this new darker tone of music into the existing music making the music bittersweet, but still just as glorifying to God. What should we make of this? I don’t think we should say that evil is glorifying to God in a positive way, but I do think that like the quotation phrases it, evil can bring glory to God when displayed as defeated. I think I just opened a can of worms. Ah well.