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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Atheist Artist Rejected God Until Sudden Realization Changed Everything

By Rick Pearcey • April 21, 2016, 01:31 PM

Billy Hallowell reports at The Blaze:

Artist Charlie Mackesy recently revealed the details of his journey from atheism to Christianity, telling the CBN News about how a key moment 25 years ago led him to embrace God and truly discover his artistic abilities.

While standing in a London park 25 years ago, Mackesy said that he suddenly had a feeling that "there must be more to this than meets the eye" -- an idea that truly set him on his professional and theological paths. "Jesus quietly introduced me to a journey into finding people really beautiful, which is how my art really began," he told the outlet.

Read more here and here.

Here is Mackesy's website, where you can view his paintings, drawings, lithographs, and sculpture. The "About" page is here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Neanderthal Art" Found in Gibraltar Cave

By Rick Pearcey • September 2, 2014, 09:28 AM

From the UK Telegraph:

The first examples of Neanderthal art are thought to have been found in a cave in Gibralta.

The abstract etchings -- a series of lines resembling a noughts and crosses grid scratched into the wall of Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar -- are being cited as proof of Neanderthals' intelligence.

It was previously thought that only modern humans were capable of producing art. But the marks are being touted as evidence of artistic expression in Neanderthals as they were found beneath sediment that also hid Neanderthal tools.

"It is the last nail in the coffin for the hypothesis that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to modern humans," Paul Taçon of Australia's Griffith University is quoted as saying.

Taçon "told the AP news agency that the research showed that the engravings were made with great effort for ritual purposes, to communicate with others, or both," according to the Telegraph.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Report: German Police Recover "Degenerate" Artworks "Looted by Nazis"

By Nancy Pearcey • November 4, 2013, 11:08 AM

From the Guardian:

German police have confiscated about 1,500 modernist masterpieces thought to have been looted by the Nazis from the flat of an 80-year-old man from Munich, in what is being described as the biggest artistic find of the postwar era. 

The artworks, which could be worth as much as €1bn (£860m), are said to include pieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Max Beckman and Emil Nolde. They were looted by the Nazis and had been considered lost until now, according to a report in the German news weekly Focus

The works, which would originally have been confiscated as "degenerate art" by the Nazis or claimed from Jewish collectors in the 30s and 40s, had made their way into the hands of a German art collector, Hildebrand Gurlitt. When Gurlitt died, the artworks were passed down to his son, Cornelius -- all without the knowledge of the authorities.

The article says the paintings were banned because the Nazis considered them "unGerman" or Jewish. But the abstract expressionist Emil Nolde was Protestant. He created many paintings depicting scenes from the New Testament. 

Here's what I wrote about Nolde in Saving Leonardo:

Around World War I, expressionism grew much darker. The war was taken as an indictment of Western science and rationality. Technological progress had not created the promised paradise on earth. Instead it had created grotesquely efficient killing machines -- machine guns, tanks, bombs, poison gas. The resulting carnage was on a scale never witnessed before. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered sometimes in a single battle. "Reason had become irrational and inhuman -- soulless technique, technique without a conscience," Kuspit writes. It had also "become aggressively materialistic in this society, dehumanizing people and permitting the inhumanity that ran rampant in the First World War." . . .

Were these works beautiful? They were not intended to be. In the face of such cruelty and inhumanity, it seemed that one could create beautiful works of art only by indulging in Pollyanna sentimentality. "The Expressionists felt so strongly about human suffering, poverty, violence and passion, that they were inclined to think that the insistence on harmony and beauty in art was only born out of a refusal to be honest," writes Gombrich. "It became almost a point of honour with them to avoid anything which smelt of prettiness and polish, and to shock the 'bourgeois' out of his real or imagined complacency." 

In spite of their sensitivity to suffering -- or perhaps because of it -- the expressionists remained open to the spiritual realm. "Man cries out for his soul," wrote art critic Hermann Bahr in 1916. "Art also cries out in the dark, calling for help, appealing to spirit: that is Expressionism." . . .

Many expressionists probed what the Christian gospel meant under such conditions. Emil Nolde was raised in a Protestant family that was intensely religious, but his mask-like faces and strident colors were too expressionistic for the Nazis. He was another painter denounced by the Nazi regime as "degenerate" and forbidden to paint any more. 

It will be exciting to see Nolde's missing paintings when they are released. Here is Nolde's Pentecost, from 1909. His harsh, intense colors were disturbing, yet Nolde said, "I was obeying an irresistible need to represent a deep spirituality." 

Also of Interest
Da Vinci Artwork Found in Italian Castle 
Pulp Nonfiction: Why Are Zombies Still Alive and Kicking? 
Controversy Over "Michelangelo" Sculpture

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Da Vinci Artwork Found in Italian Castle

By Rick Pearcey • October 29, 2013, 12:28 PM

"Restoring a castle would no doubt require quite a paint job, but those working on a project in Italy quickly found out that Leonardo Da Vinci [1452-1519] got there first," Mia Watkins writes at Al.com.

Watkins is referencing "drawings sketched by Leonardo da Vinci [that] are emerging from the walls of an Italian castle, announced restorers working on an elaborate fresco devised by the Renaissance master," according to Rosella Lorenzi, who reported the story yesterday at Discovery.com.

"One of most original paintings of the 15th century, the mural covers the vault and walls of the Sala delle Asse in the Sforza Castle in Milan," Lorenzi writes. "It depticts a garden pergola made of 16 mulberry trees bound together by a golden, knotted rope. The trunk of each tree rises as a column supporting 16 half-moon-shaped spaces above a Gothic vault, producing an evocative, fictive grove."

Restorers say the "mural is covered by a thick layer of grime" but that their "cleaning tests indicate that it can be easily removed. Leonardo's paint won't be damaged in the procedure." 

The restoration project "will last two years, ending just in time for the Milan's Expo 2015," according to Milan culture councillor Filippo Del Corno.

Sometimes in life, beauty is lost. But it need not be lost forever. "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly," says Jesus of Nazareth, who is something of an expert on restoration projects.

Whether we are thinking of lost beauty in art, science, politics, or human relations, removing thick layers of grime to restore the God-given treasures of life is a high, noble, humane, and holy calling.

That restoration you have in mind may not happen overnight, but it is well worth the effort.

Are there layers of grime on your marriage, creativity, knowledge, and routine? On your politics, your culture, your church, your neighborhood?

Well, as Francis Schaeffer might have put it, "substantial healing" is possible. And you can experience much joy in getting there. Abundant joy, even amid the ruins.

A Review of the Da Vinci Code 
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wheaton College Professor Smears Jesus Statue With Vacuum Crud, Calls It Art

By Rick Pearcey • March 13, 2013, 10:50 AM

Eric Owens writes at The Daily Caller

An art professor at a venerated Christian liberal arts college has covered a life-size statue of Jesus with vacuum dust and is calling it art.

David Hooker, an associate professor at Wheaton College in the suburbs of Chicago, sifted the dust out of massive amounts of vacuumed debris the school’s custodial staff collected for him. He then meticulously smeared it onto a ceramic mannequin of Jesus suffering crucifixion.

The particular Jesus Christ that Hooker covered from head to toe in filth originally came from a Catholic church. He paid $4,000 for it.

"Literally, this dirt contains skin cells from the community. The idea is that our bodies are now connected to the body of Christ,” Hooker is quoted as saying. "At first, some might find it disgusting, or even sacrilegious, but I hope people can get past that and see the meaning behind it."

"If you want a picture of a very suburban, acceptable Jesus, this will not be it," says Jeffrey Greenman, associate dean of biblical and theological studies at Wheaton, according to TheDC.

Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary
Camille Paglia: Art World in Crisis -- Because It's "Sneering at Religion"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Camille Paglia: Art World in Crisis -- Because It's "Sneering at Religion"

By Nancy Pearcey • December 19, 2012, 09:27 AM

Emily Esfahani Smith writes at Acculturated.com:

Earlier this fall, I spent an afternoon with Camille Paglia at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to talk about her new book, Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars. For Paglia, the art world is in spiritual crisis -- it has not had a new idea in years. Why? Because it sneers at religion. Paglia thinks that the spiritual quest defines all great art.

For Paglia, writes Smith,“the spiritual quest defines all great art -- all art that lasts. But in our secular age, the liberal crusade against religion has also taken a toll on art. ‘Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination,’ Paglia writes. ‘Yet that cynical posture has become de rigueur in the art world -- simply another reason for the shallow derivativeness of so much contemporary art, which has no big ideas left.’

“Historically the great art of the West has had religious themes,” Smith continues, “either explicit or implicit. ‘The Bible, the basis for so much great art, moves deeper than anything coming out of the culture today,’ Paglia says. As a result of its spiritual bankruptcy, art is losing its prominence in our culture.”  

Paglia tells of students who don't know who Adam and Eve were, or who Moses was: “They did not know who he was,” she says in disbelief. “If you are an artist and you don’t recognize the name of ‘Moses,’ then the West is dead. It’s over. It has committed suicide.”

National Endowment for the Arts Trying to Create Cult of Obama
Hollywood Approval Rating in Toilet

Monday, October 8, 2012

"New Yorker" Cover Illustrates Pearcey Early Take on Romney vs. Empty Chair

By Rick Pearcey • October 8, 2012, 10:35 AM

Thank you, New Yorker, for your cover art that illustrates my Facebook post entered at 11:39 pm October 3. Here's the post: 

Romney 1, Empty Chair 0 (and that's a great big 1)

Building on that theme, at 11:41 pm on Twitter, I posted:

Romney: 1, Empty Chair: Yea But, I Killed Bin Laden

Two days later, with the headline "O No: Clint Was Right," the Drudge Report linked to the terrific New Yorker cover art. It was late Friday evening (11:57 pm), October 5.

This is all good fun. Or as Muhammad Ali often said: "No brag, just fact." :)

The Outlaw Clint Eastwood: "Mission Accomplished" 
Video: Clint Eastwood at Republican National Convention
Dangerous Influences: The New Yorker, Michele Bachmann, and Me
Bachmann, Schaeffer, Pearcey, & Dominionism Paranoia 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Is on Your Screen

By Rick Pearcey • September 3, 2012, 04:46 PM

Don't Miss This: Self-described liberal Jonathan Chait writes at New York magazine:

We liberals owe not a small measure of our success to the propaganda campaign of a tiny, disproportionately influential cultural elite.

This capacity to mold the moral premises of large segments of the public, and especially the youngest and most impressionable elements, may or may not be unfair. What it is undoubtedly is a source of cultural (and hence political) power.

Chait says television transmits "an ethos in which greed is not only bad but the main wellspring of evil, authority figures of all kinds are often untrustworthy, sexual freedom is absolute, and social equality of all kinds is paramount. Within the moral universe of this [Hollywood] culture, the merits of these values are self-evident. But to the large bloc of America that does not share this ethos, it looks like a smug, self-perpetuating collusion against them."

"The American people have been lied to," explains Ben Shapiro at Big Hollywood. "We’ve been told that our entertainment was just that -- entertainment, as opposed to propaganda. That was false. And Americans, by ignoring the problem, have allowed it to fester."

What to do? "Until conservatives wake up and realize that they won’t win back their country without winning back their culture," Shapiro warns, "they will continue to lose their country to those who know how to manipulate emotions with script, lighting, and camerawork."

Those who say they are Christians should be especially concerned. Not just because of Hollywood's aggression against the rules of freedom and humanity, but also because redeemed visionaries have unique resources by which to respond with great creativity, depth, and humanity.

After all, creativity is a liberating gift from the Creator, one that human beings are called to exercise across the whole of reality, so that families and individuals and cities and societies may flourish in community with God and man.

Creativity is profoundly spiritual, and it is high time that Christians, as an emancipated humanity created in the image of God, express in a sustained way the wonder of transcendence and imagination throughout all of life, including creative life.

So writers, actors, thinkers, poets, sculptors, musicians, painters, speakers, and more -- this challenge is for you. Paint the trees, love the flowers, describe the hills, tell the story, and unfold the drama. Set the captives free. Ring the bell of liberty. And let history declare that humans qua humans are on the march again.

Politics is downstream from culture. And culture is downstream from salt and light.

Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes
Ashley Judd: No More Coal Mining on KY Mountain Tops 
Hollywood Approval Rating in the Toilet

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Merry Christmas! Smithsonian Murders Art

By Rick Pearcey • December 1, 2010, 06:58 AM

"The National Portrait Gallery, part of the federally funded Smithsonian Institution, is presenting an exhibition that does exactly the opposite of what true art does," writes Terry Jeffrey at CNSNews.com.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Apostolic Images From 4th Century Under Street in Rome

By Rick Pearcey • June 22, 2010, 09:43 PM

Archaeologists have discovered the "earliest known images of the apostles Andrew and John . . . in the richly decorated tomb of a Roman noblewoman," reports the Guardian.

The tomb would have be built during the period when Rome was converting to Christianity from paganism, according to the project leader, Barbara Mazzei.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Pink Panther" Theft Shocks Mayor of Paris

By Rick Pearcey • May 20, 2010, 10:30 PM

"Bertrand Delanoë, the art-loving Mayor of Paris, had some explaining to do last night," reports the UK Timesonline. "A masked man had just climbed into the Musée d’Art Moderne and helped himself to five masterpieces -- including a Picasso, a Matisse and a Modigliani."

According to the Times, "The Pink Panther-style raid, which netted works insured at €100 million (£85.4 million) was one of the biggest art thefts in decades. Christophe Girard, Mr Delanoë’s Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture, was flummoxed."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Norman Rockwell Wrong About Thanksgiving

By Rick Pearcey • November 27, 2009, 08:50 AM

Art Imitating Politics: "One of the persistent American misunderstandings is that Thanksgiving is about celebrating abundance," writes Chris Stirewalt at Washington Examiner. "Norman Rockwell helped the myth along as much as anyone."

Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington 
Tourist Attacks Mona Lisa
6-Year-Old Exhibits Painting
Controversy Over "Michelangelo" Sculpture
New Van Gogh Show 
Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama's Bootlicking NEA Chairman

By Rick Pearcey • October 28, 2009, 09:32 AM

Rick Moran at American Thinker discusses Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Landesman recently gave a speech "that is so syrupy sweet with Obama worship it activates the gag reflex," writes Moran.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paris: McDonald's to Open at the Louvre

By Rick Pearcey • October 12, 2009, 10:10 AM

Peter Goddard writes at the Toronto Star:

News that a McDonald's is to open shortly in the bosom of the Louvre has sent waves of shock and horror worldwide. Appalled art lovers cringe at the possibility of the outlet serving up a juicy Double Da Vinci burger with a side of frites. Or a Francis Bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich.

More . . .

Tourist Attacks Mona Lisa
6-Year-Old Exhibits Painting
Controversy Over "Michelangelo" Sculpture
New Van Gogh Show
Art Without Meaning -- Francis Schaeffer on "The Red Virgin"
Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary

Thursday, September 24, 2009

House Republicans Seek Probe Into Possible Obama Arts Corruption

By Rick Pearcey • September 24, 2009, 04:30 PM

"House Republicans are seeking a congressional investigation and information from the White House to determine whether the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) pushed politics in a conference call with potential grant recipients," reports CNSNews.com.

Official Dishonesty From National Endowment for the Arts
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington
Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes

Monday, September 7, 2009

George Will: NEA Pro-Obama Conference Call Likely Broke Laws -- Video

By Rick Pearcey • September 7, 2009, 09:36 AM

Breitbart TV has the video.

Meanwhile: Are there any rebellious, freethinking, anti-status-quo, anti-Establishment, anti-System, Bourgeoisie-and-"The System"-decrying "Rage against the Machine"-challenging artists out there willing to address the question of state-sponsored propaganda masquerading as "art"?

Hat tip: Big Hollywood

Official Dishonesty From National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts Trying to Create Cult of Obama
Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Official Dishonesty From National Endowment for the Arts

By Rick Pearcey • September 3, 2009, 10:22 AM

The "Water Cooler" over at the Washington Times has been hearing things:

The Washington Times Water Cooler reported that we contacted the National Endowment for the Arts's (NEA) Yosi Sergant about an August 10th conference call invitation sent out to artists and other creative influence peddlers.  

When asked if the NEA sent the invitation, Mr. Sergant denied the NEA had sent the invitations to any participants for the conference call and refused to send the Washington Times a copy of the invite. AUDIO

More at Water Cooler . . .

Hat tip: Big Hollywood

National Endowment for the Arts Trying to Create Cult of Obama

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

National Endowment for the Arts Trying to Create Cult of Obama

By Rick Pearcey • September 2, 2009, 11:24 AM

Are you a rebellious artist longing for transformational hope and change?

Well, note this: Barack Obama loves your creativity, and the National Endowment for the Arts has a wonderful plan for your work.

Go here for an insider's look at an NEA teleconference call encouraging artists to get their pro-Obama groove on. 

Fireproof: Reel Rebel Upsets Tinseltown Stereotypes
Major New Van Gogh Show
Controversy Over Michelangelo Sculpture
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tourist Attacks Mona Lisa

By Rick Pearcey • August 11, 2009, 11:00 AM

"The Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile was unaffected," despite what could be called a mug shot, as reported by the UK Telegraph.

The Telegraph unearthed a possible explanation: "Doctors were trying to assess whether she was suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition in which often perfectly sane individuals momentarily lose all reason and attack a work of art."

Just as there is no healthcare crisis, there is no Mona Lisa crisis.

6-Year-Old Exhibits Painting
Controversy Over "Michelangelo" Sculpture

Friday, July 31, 2009

6-Year-Old Exhibits Paintings

By Rick Pearcey • July 31, 2009, 08:38 AM

"He may only be six years old, but Keiron Williamson is already exhibiting his watercolour paintings at a professional gallery near his home," reports the Telegraph.

Major New Van Gogh Show
Controversy Over Michelangelo Sculpture
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington

Friday, July 10, 2009

Major New Van Gogh Show

By Rick Pearcey • July 10, 2009, 09:53 AM

"The largest Van Gogh exhibition to be held in Britain in over 40 years will open at the Royal Academy of Arts next January, which organisers hope will give visitors a glimpse of the real man behind the myth," reports the Telegraph.

Here's the site for "The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters," at the Royal Academy of Arts.  

Controversy Over Michelangelo Sculpture
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington
Pizza With Michelangelo
Art Without Meaning -- Francis Schaeffer on "The Red Virgin"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Controversy Over "Michelangelo" Sculpture

By Rick Pearcey • May 26, 2009, 07:02 AM

Just as in knowing the true authorship of books, so in sculpture it matters much to know who did what.

Here's a report from Rome on a wooden sculpture of Christ, dated from ca. 1495.

See also:
Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington
Pizza With Michelangelo
Plagiarism: Pretend People, Fake Work
What Is a Plagiarist?
Oxford, Cambridge, Plagiarism, and Christian Worldview
I'll Take Sartre

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Napolitano Cartoon of the Day

By Rick Pearcey • April 16, 2009, 11:48 AM

Click here to see why profiling is now OK, until further notice.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pre-Pub Update: Nancy's New Book

By Rick Pearcey • March 27, 2009, 11:54 AM

A hard-copy prepublication version of Nancy's new book arrived in the mail today. This edition is also being sent to expert readers who have requested such a copy. More about this later, but comments already coming in are quite positive, for which we are thankful.

Remembering that politics follows culture -- especially during these days of an oppressive secularism, governmental and otherwise -- I can honestly say that this next volume offers a mighty blow against the forces of manipulation, fragmentation, and inhumanity at large in so many areas of contemporary life, thought, and society.  

Nancy and I are thrilled with how this project has developed, and we appreciate the vision and support of Philadelphia Biblical University in producing this hard copy and in supporting Nancy's writing and thinking. Great job all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

China to Unleash "Marx the Musical"

By Rick Pearcey • March 23, 2009, 08:11 AM

AFP seems to think this is news. But, too late: They're already singing and dancing Marx at the White House. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vader Art Alert: The Debt Star

By Rick Pearcey • March 16, 2009, 05:33 PM

Hat tip: Sandra Crosnoe, Libertylive.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Michelangelo, Schaeffer, and the Kingdom of Washington

By Rick Pearcey • March 7, 2009, 01:01 PM

The great Renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo was born March 6, 1475, 534 years ago yesterday. He began work on his famed statue the David in 1501 and completed it in 1504. Michelangelo was 29 years old. 

Let's consider this man and his art and its relevance for our day, interacting with comments from Francis Schaeffer in his work How Should We Then Live? (Crossway: Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Vol. 5, pp. 114-115).

Schaeffer begins inside the Accademia in Florence, where the David is located:

Here we see on either side Michelangelo's statues of men "tearing themselves out of the rock." These were sculpted between 1519 and 1536. They make a real humanistic statement: Man will make himself great. Man as Man is tearing himself out of the rock. Man by himself will tear himself out of nature and free himself from it. Man will be victorious. . . ."

I saw and touched (winning the polite attention of security) one of these statues during my first and only (thus far!) visit to Florence. I had hitched a ride from L'Abri in Switzerland and carried with me a copy of Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy. Having that book in your mind was a tremendous way to see Florence.

"At the focal point of the room," Schaeffer continues, is the "magnificent statue of David (1504)."

As a work of art it has few equals in the world. Michelangelo took a piece of marble so flawed that no one thought it could be used, and out of it he carved this overwhelming statue. But let us notice that the David was not the Jewish David of the Bible. David was simply a title. Michelangelo knew his Judaism, and in the statue the figure is not circumcised. We are not to think of this as the biblical David but as the humanistic ideal. Man is great!

Man, human beings -- you and me, our neighbors, all of us red and yellow, black and white -- in fact are great. But not, as the unfinished statues of Michelangelo may suggest, because we have to tear ourselves out of nature. 

Rather, consistent with what the Declaration of Independence avows (which is the "Vision Statement" or "Mission Statement" of the United States), what makes humanity great is that we are the magnificent work of a Divine Sculptor, who happens to be the Creator by virtue of whom every single human being is endowed with "certain unalienable rights." And, by the way, Nature is also great and not a meaningless piece of particulate junk, because she too is a gift from the Creator and therefore ought to be cared for and respected, just like Genesis 1:28 liberates humanity to do.

As Schaeffer describes it, the political situation of Michelangelo's day bears some resemblance to our our own: 

The statue was originally planned to stand forty feet above the street on one of the buttresses of the cathedral, but was placed outside the city hall in Florence, where a copy now stands. The Medicis, the great banking family which had dominated Florence since 1434, had run the city by manipulating its republican constitution. A few years before David was made, the Medicis had been thrown down by the people and a more genuine republic restored (1494). Thus, as the statue was raised outside the city hall, though Michelangelo himself had been a friend of the Medicis, his David was seen as the slayer of tyrants. Florence was looking with confidence toward a great future. (Emphasis added.)

We see in our own day a manipulating of a "republican constitution" (think: "living" Constitution). Central to the truly living Mission Statement of United States (in the Declaration of Independence) is that a republic under the Creator would respect unalienable rights from that Creator, resulting in a balance of "form and freedom" (a phrase often used by Schaeffer). This amazing and unique balance maximized individual liberty among the people and states but without chaos, and it also established a unity of purpose nationally but without overweening control out of Washington.

To put this in contemporary parlance, it wasn't "unity is our strength" or "diversity is our strength," but rather "unity and diversity under God is our strength." All the difference in world.

To the degree that secular elites have imposed an alien agenda that casts away the founding Mission Statement of the United States (or keeps the form but denies the meaning), to that degree we have seen a corresponding loss of individual freedom, including direct attacks on the unalienable rights hardwired into humanity by the verifiable and knowable Creator. Not unrelated to this, the economic crisis we see today emerges in no small degree from a secularist, power-minded Washington-centrism and is the natural outworking of uprooting the American experiment in liberty from what the Founders knew is the soil of liberty as gifted to humanity by the Creator.

"Hope springs eternal," says the poet. And in the David is a "statement of what the humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow!," says Schaeffer.

In this statue we have man waiting with confidence in his own strength for the future. Even the disproportionate size of the hands says that man is powerful. This statue is idealistic and romantic. There was and is no man like the David. If a girl fell in love with the statue and waited until she found such a man, she would never marry. Humanism was standing in its proud self and the David stood as a representation of that.

The challenge for humanism is not its ideals per se, but that it lacks an adequate intellectual basis to sustain those ideals, so that when crisis comes, we see breakdown instead of recovery. And we do see the breakdown, despite the concerted efforts of political, PR, and marketing types working overtime to simultaneously distract (e.g., attack Rush Limbaugh) and overlay a comfortable but Orwellian spin upon the breakdown (e.g., the president not concerned about market "gyrations").

However, in the world beyond the teleprompter, the press release, and the attack dog, what we are witnessing today is not just the loss of economic power and freedom, but also assaults on freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religious exercise, and so on. Man is great, but man is not God. You could put all the smartest people in the world in Washington and still the federal government is not God, as the original Vision Statement of the United States clearly understands. Secularist Washington-centrism must decrease if a humane American liberty is to increase. Read the directions.  

Our Founders understood this, but many of today's elites seem to reject it. It's not that the secularists are too smart for their own good, but that they are operating out of an inadequate philosophic framework. We'll recover as a nation if we return to the original Mission Statement and mark progress from that point forward. 

Perhaps the later Michelangelo can help lead the way forward:

[T]here are signs that by the end of his life Michelangelo saw the humanism was not enough. Michelangelo in his later years was in close touch with Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547), a woman who had been influenced by Reformation thought. Some people feel they see some of that influence in Michelangelo's life and work. However that may be, it is true that his later work did change. Many of his early works show his humanism, as does his David. In contrast stand his later Pietas (statues of Mary holding the dead Christ in her arms) in the cathedral in Florence and in the castle in Milan, which was probably his last. In the Pieta in the cathedral in Florence, Michelangelo put his own face on Nicodemus (or Joseph of Arimathea -- whichever the man is), and in both of the Pietas humanistic pride seems lessened, if not absent.

I began this post this morning simply as an effort to show an appreciation for one of my favorite artists, a person that I and a host of others would surely have liked to have known. He, like all of us, had his struggles. But even the Great Michelangelo of the Pietas was willing to place himself at the feet of a flesh and blood rebel condemned as a common criminal who happened to be the Savior and Son of God. That's right: A resurrected guy from the Middle East outback whose love and truth challenged and overturns the hopeful but inadequate humanism of then and now. 

The Founders understood the centrality and necessity of the Creator, and they rejected the idolatry of the federal state and the Kingdom of Washington. Many of us today get it. Hope and freedom never die. They are unalienable. They are hardwired into humane and human existence. Yes, we get it. Let's hope Washington hears before it's too late.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Che of the Day

By Rick Pearcey • February 23, 2009, 12:05 PM

Viva Change!

Image: Matt Weurker/Politico.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

International Arts Movement Goes Twitter

By Rick Pearcey • February 14, 2009, 08:23 AM

The International Arts Movement, founded by artist Makoto Fujimura, is now on Twitter.

You can "follow" IAM on Twitter by clicking here, as I did at 8:14 this morning.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Worldview Tour Update: Our Rome-Florence-Paris Tour Brochure Here

By Rick Pearcey • February 13, 2009, 06:46 PM

Official brochures for our summer 2009 worldview tour of Rome, Florence, and Paris -- titled From Plato to Picasso to You -- are now yours for the viewing.

Included is information on the following: A tour overview, your tour directors, the itinerary, plus details about accommodations, meals, transport (including a night train to Paris), registration, whom to contact for follow-up, and so on.

"We expect this to be a tremendous time of fellowship, on-site examination of significant venues in Western cultural history, and discussion of the relationship of humane and Biblical living across the whole of thought and life."

To see The Pearcey Report on-line version of the brochure, click here. I hope you find the place links and map links of special interest.

Here is a pdf of the official brochure, provided by Philadelphia Biblical University, where Nancy is a professor of worldview studies. We greatly appreciate the university's support for creative worldview initiatives.

As a warm-up, you might brew a cup of coffee and sit down with "Pizza With Michelangelo," in which I discuss a terrific book titled Florence: Art & Architecture.

There's more Pro-Existence tour information here and here.

Man of the Day

By Rick Pearcey • February 13, 2009, 07:30 AM

"Adam, Ne Pas de Printemps," encaustic, by Carol Bomer.












Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oreo Memory of the Day

By Rick Pearcey • February 7, 2009, 09:38 AM

"Oreo Memories," charcoal, by Carol Kelly Dorn.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Banjo Player of the Day

By Rick Pearcey • January 30, 2009, 12:41 PM

This watercolor titled Banjo Player is by artist Carol Kelly Dorn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Worldview Tour -- Rome, Florence, and Paris With the Pearceys

By Rick Pearcey • January 21, 2009, 11:15 PM

We're finalizing the brochure for a European Christian worldview tour titled "From Plato to Picasso to You," to be held this summer, June 10-18.

We expect this to be a tremendous time of fellowship, on-site examination of significant venues in Western cultural history, and discussion of the relationship of humane and Biblical living across the whole of thought and life.

There will be much more to share about this "worldview conference on wheels" in the brochure. Meanwhile, here's a preliminary announcement:

You are invited to join worldview scholar and author, Nancy Pearcey, and writer-editor Rick Pearcey for a nine-day excursion through Rome, Florence, and Paris.

You will learn to “decipher” the meaning of the art and cultural artifacts that have shaped the Western mind -- and that continue to influence our lives today.

You will visit the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum, the David and the Uffizi, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, and cruise the Seine in the City of Lights.

All of these will be illuminated by lectures and discussions led by the Pearceys. Cost of this 9-day tour is $3,899.

For more information, please call 215-702-4333. Or email Claire Johnson at cjohnson@pbu.edu.

Here is the announcement page for 2009 summer tours available via Philadelphia Biblical University, where Nancy is a professor of worldview studies.

Please stay tuned to Pro-Existence or The Pearcey Report for future updates.

* February 4 Update

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Art Without Meaning -- Francis Schaeffer on "The Red Virgin"

By Rick Pearcey • January 4, 2007, 11:19 AM

News outlets are reporting that an artist has portrayed actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary. The following analysis by philosopher-theologian Francis Schaeffer of Fouquet's The Red Virgin provides background on the worldview dimension of this use of Marian imagery and on the modern problem of art divorced from meaning.

* Masaccio: "It is crucial to notice that with Masaccio [1401-1428?] and the others up to this point," writes Schaeffer, "art could still have moved toward either a biblical or a nonbiblical concept of nature and the particulars (that is, the individual things, including the individual man). Up to this time it could have gone either way."

* Nature's Proper Place: "It was good that nature was given a proper place. And there could have continued an emphasis on real people in a real world which God has made -- with the particulars, the individual things, important because God made the whole world. Masaccio . . . pictured Adam and Eve as the Bible portrays them -- as real people in a real world. Or at this point humanism could take over, with its emphasis on things being autonomous."

* Dilemma of Humanism: "Immediately after Masaccio, the die was cast and the movement went in this direction. Man made himself increasingly independent and autonomous, and with this came an increasing loss of anything which gave meaning, either to the individual things in the world or to man. With this we see the dilemma of humanism which is still with us today."

* Fouquet's Red Virgin: "This position and its dilemma is strikingly shown in a shift in art. In France, one sees this with Fouquet (c. 1416-1480) in his painting The Red Virgin (1450?)."

* King's Mistress: "The world red refers to the overall color used in part of the picture. The girl was shown with one breast exposed, and everybody who knew the situation knew that this was a picture of the king's mistress, Anges Sorel."

* Not the Madonna: "Was this the Madonna about to feed her baby? No, the painting might be titled The Red Virgin, but the girl was the king's mistress; and when one looked at the painting one could see what the king's mistress's breast looked like."

* Mary as a Real Person: "Prior to this time, Mary was considered very high and holy. Earlier she was considered so much above normal people that she was painted as a symbol. When in the Renaissance Mary was painted as a real person, this was an advance over the representations of Mary in the earlier age, because the Bible tells us that Mary was a real girl and that the baby Jesus was a real baby."

* Where Has All the Meaning Gone? "But now not only was the king's mistress painted as Mary with all of the holiness removed, but the meaning, too, was being destroyed. As first it might have seemed that only the religious aspect was threatened. But, as we can see in retrospect, gradually the threat spread to all of knowledge and all of life."

* Beyond Meaningless Mary: "All meaning to all individual things or particulars was removed. Things were being made autonomous, and there was nothing to which to related them or to give them meaning."

-- Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, pp. 68-71; for a fuller statement on Christianity and art, see Schaeffer's Art & The Bible