The Religious Sense and Art

The human person's aspiration toward beauty: A yearning for the ideal

A presentation by Fr. Thierry DE ROUCY, Founder of Heart’s Home, Makoto FUJIMURA, Painter, Founder of The International Arts Movement, Francis GREENE, Art Historian, and Etsuro SOTOO, Sculptor at the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Presented by Crossroads Cultural Center, The American Bible Society and Heart's Home USA

Crossroads is very pleased to host a panel of distinguished artists who witness to us that being an artist means first of all to be passionately human, and to live deeply the most fundamental human questions, that level of human experience that the late Msgr. Luigi Giussani called the “religious sense.” Among the many dichotomies that plague our culture, one of the most unfortunate is certainly the separation between art and knowledge. Modern man does not any longer understand the experience of beauty as a necessary step on the road to knowledge. Often knowledge is reduced in a rationalistic fashion, and identified with the methods of the natural sciences. As a result, art is pushed into the sphere of pure subjectivity, reduced to an expression of the artists' emotions or to an empty aestheticism. This separation has done some harm to art as well as to reason because reason achieves its highest point precisely when beauty awakens the great questions, the human questions. This point was forcefully made by Benedict XVI a few weeks ago in his address to a group of artists:

The experience of beauty, beauty that is authentic, not merely transient or artificial, is by no means a supplementary or secondary factor in our search for meaning and happiness; the experience of beauty does not remove us from reality, on the contrary, it leads to a direct encounter with the daily reality of our lives, liberating it from darkness, transfiguring it, making it radiant and beautiful. […] Authentic beauty...unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence, the Mystery of which we are part; from this Mystery we can draw fullness, happiness, the passion to engage with it every day.

These words of the Pope capture perfectly the reason for this event: to rediscover together this “joy of seeing” which is the mark of all great artists.

The discussion will be preceded by a piano concert by Hisako HISEKI.

6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. - Piano concert with Hisako Hiseki

7:00 p.m. - 8.45 p.m.- Lecture by Etsuro Sotoo, Makoto Fujimura, Fr. Thierry de Roucy, and Dr. Francis Greene

About this Event

Date: Monday, March 8, 2010
Time: 6:30pm
Location: The American Bible Society
1865 Broadway (corner of 61st Street), New York

About the Speakers

Fr. Thierry de Roucy
Founder of Heart's Home
Makoto Fujimura
Painter, Founder of The International Arts Movement
Dr. Francis Greene
Art Historian
Hisako Hiseki
Etsuro Sotoo
Sculptor at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona


Download the Invitation here


Read the transcript here


Read the report

Photos - click on image below

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