Art and faith

by Fritz Eichenberg

Other authorsFritz Eichenberg (Illustrator)
Pamphlet, 1962



Call number

CP 68/1


Wallingford, Pa. : Pendle Hill, [1962, 1952]

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LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
We must remember that Quakers into the 20th century rejected the arts as "encumbrance" and frivolity that hindered true spiritual life and community. Fritz Eichenberg, envisioning and creating art as one of the "instruments of God's peace," was one of the Quaker artists who helped release Friends from this restriction. In this pamphlet, he explains how he sees that art and faith are interrelated, and how art is both a mirror to society and a creative force.
Eichenberg condemns the culture and most of the arts of his time; he sees a society of war, commercialism, dissonance and anomie, irresponsibility, and lack of faith and moral concern, with the arts reflecting this culture. The true artist, however, can withdraw from that culture and create beauty and truth, based on faith and "seeing into the soul of things." He concludes with a call to recapture the faith, responsibility, and creativity that our culture has lost.
Eichenberg wrote this in 1952 and added a preface in 1962. His analysis challenges us to consider what we would say about the arts of our day.
An interesting parallel appears between Eichenberg's insistence on voluntary poverty as the only path of integrity for the true artist and the call for voluntary poverty from prophetic Quaker voices, such as Mildred Binns Young (PHPs #6, 12, 19, 90, 109, 145, 177, from 1939 to 1971) to Paul Christiansen (PHP #429) and Steve Chase (PHP #431) in 2015. Eichenberg asserts an artist must withdraw from the corruptions, superficiality, and faithlessness of modern society in order to pursue true art that expresses the true human spirit, while our prophetic Quaker voices have always asserted that living in faithfulness to our spiritual call must lead to a similar withdrawal and a different Way. They seem to be speaking of the same thing. See also PHPs #128 and 232, by Dorothea Blom, for a subtle and insightful view on art and religion.
The pamphlet contains prints of six stunning wood engravings from Eichenberg's series of illustrations for the Hebrew Bible.
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0875742572   / 9780875742571

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Pendle Hill Pamphlet 68

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Call number

CP 68/1


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