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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Ultimate Artist

The spectacular heavenly art exhibition is free. Traveling to Finland to
visit the frozen outdoor museum will cost you dearly.
The Ultimate Artist schedules
dozens of exhibitions around the
world every morning, often with
a retrospective in the evening.
Often we refer to Him as "the Creator." The word "the" is an exclusionary adjective. It's use in the English language implies that the word it modifies is essentially "one of a kind." Artists create images. Thus when we talk about God as "the" creator, that would imply a position as the Ultimate Artist. He is certainly the ultimate mixed-media artist. In terms of scale no human artist has ever come close to the aurora borealis, for instance. He's undoubtedly the most influential artist alive, as can be seen in the work of any landscape painter. Like most artists, He is underpaid and underappreciated. His work is free, though traveling to some of His exhibitions around the world can be quite costly. And, like the work of many artist, appreciating His creative efforts sometimes takes a discerning eye, a willingness to see beauty and creative uniqueness in unexpected places at unexpected times.

I wonder if the Ultimate Artist has ever
forgiven Michelangelo for this somewhat
less than flattering depiction.
The similarities between the Ultimate Artist--the divine Artist--and those characteristics we normally attribute to ordinary human artists are nearly endless. I'm not talking here about "religion." My guess is this Ultimate Artist cares little about the stormy connection art has had with religion down through the millennia. I'd even go so far as to say He is probably not particularly fond of the way human artists have chosen to depict Him--or at least those like Michelangelo (right) who dared.

The ultimate abstract expressionist,
art too small for the unaided eye to see.
The subject matter? Does it matter?
The Ultimate Artist doesn't work exclusively on a grand scale. He has quite a reputation as an abstractionist and miniaturist as well. However, like the work of his human counterparts, such viewing is often best accomplished via various optical aids ranging from a simple magnifying glass to a scanning electron microscope (left). And lest we limit God to artistic creations of grand scale, extreme complexity, or great beauty, very often the work of the Ultimate Artist is quite mundane, sometimes relatively unattractive, even, dare I say, downright ugly (below, right). Moreover, as with the work of human artists, there are those who would go so far as to claim that His "unbeautiful" work is not, in fact, art at all. Yet who are we to place ourselves in the exalted position as critics of such an Artist? The Ultimate Artist "wrote the book" on art. It should come as no surprise that our values as pertaining to art (as well as other things) are not the same as His; but we do Him a grave injustice to elevate our values over His.

What is it? Once more, does it matter?
Virtually all artists specialize. The world's greatest Artist's most outstanding work is in the area of portraiture. As a "born-again" art critic I don't think I'd be out of line to assert that the Ultimate Artist's ultimate creation has been man himself (or, perhaps, the female of the species, using the male as a rough draft). In any case, this work of art is a perpetual "work in progress." And, judging from the prevalence of the nude figure in human art, his work seems to be highly appreciated for its aesthetic qualities (leaving aside for the moment any sexual overtones). Michelangelo, despite his impudence in depicting his greatest artistic influence from a less than flattering perspective on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, with his The Creation of the Sun and Moon (1512), the unruly Florentine may have redeemed himself somewhat in his vision of the relationship between God's art and that of man, as seen in his iconic Creation of Adam (below).

The Creation of Adam, 1512, Michelangelo. Note the resemblance of the overall
mass on the right to the human brain. The Ultimate Artist at his best.

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