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O artesão imita a beleza do mundo da Inteligência

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022


(Armstrong   Selection and Translation)

[The artist imitates the beauty of the world of Noûs, to which he has access directly, and not necessarily through the medium of nature.]

Since we maintain that the man who has attained to contemplation of the beauty of the world of Noûs, and understood the beauty of the true Noûs, will be able also to bring into his mind its Father, Who is beyond Noûs, let us try to see and explain to ourselves how we can say things like this, how it is possible for anyone to contemplate the beauty of Noûs and of that higher world. Let us suppose, if you like, a couple of great lumps of stone lying side by side, one shapeless and untouched by art, the other which has been already mastered by art and turned into a statue of a god or of a man, of a Grace or one of the Muses if of a god, and if of a man not just of any man but of one whom art has made up out of every sort of beauty. The stone which has been brought to beauty of form by art will appear beautiful not because it is a stone (for then the other would be just as beautiful) but as a result of the form which art has put into it. Now the material did not have this form: it was in the man who thought it before it came into the stone. It was in the workman, not in so far as he had hands and eyes, but because he had some art in him. So this beauty was in the art, and it was far better there; for the beauty in the art did not come into the stone: it stays in the art, and another comes from it into the stone which is derived from it and less than it. And even this does not stay pure and as it wants to be in the stone, but is only there as far as the stone has submitted to the art. If art makes its work like what it is and has (and it makes it beautiful according to the form of what it is making) it is itself more, and more truly, beautiful since it has the beauty of art which is greater and more beautiful than anything in the external object. For a thing is weaker than that which abides in unity in proportion as it expands in its advance towards matter. Everything which is extended departs from itself; if it is bodily strength it grows less strong, if heat, less hot, if power in general, less powerful, if beauty, less beautiful. Every original maker must be in itself stronger than that which it makes. It is not lack of music which makes a man musical, but music; and music in the world of sense is made by the music prior to that world.

But if anyone despises the arts because they produce their works by imitating nature, we must tell him, first, that natural things are imitations too: and then he must know that the arts do not simply imitate what they see; they go back to the logoi from which nature derives; and also that they do a great deal by themselves: since they possess beauty they make up what is defective in things. Phidias did not make his Zeus from any model perceived by the senses; he understood what Zeus would look like if he wanted to make himself visible.