The prophetic element in modern art

by Dorothea Johnson Blom

Pamphlet, 1966



Call number

CP 148/2


[Wallingford, Pa.] : Pendle Hill Publications, [1966]

User reviews

LibraryThing member QuakerReviews
Blom lays out an understanding and explanation of art as a language of truth that can give us a vivid encounter bringing renewal, transformation, and meaning. And stunningly she argues that the best art foretells and expresses the radical changes in our human relationship to reality, in a language of "seeing feelingly" that we can learn to read. As we do, these images can inform us, change our attitudes, heal us, reconcile us, free up our assumptions and imaginations, and energize us. They in fact help bring us into new relationship with the world.
She explains the radical changes from post-Renaissance art to what she calls modern art, beginning with Goya and Blake in the early 19th century, through Giacometti and Henry Moore and many others, even Op Art, up to 1966 when she wrote this. She remarks that never in human history has art been as inwardly focused as in the 20th century, and rarely has energy been as pronounced and characteristic. Her conclusions for our cultural revolution in the 21st century are intriguing and suggestive. It is all argued with specific references to specific painters, sculptors, movements, and art objects.
Blom concludes that we desperately need our best art to help us feel at home in our own time and to greet the future with creative initiative. In our present time when so many fear the way forward and cling to an old culture that will destroy us, her insights about art and about change seem stunning and profoundly helpful.
While all this may already be clear to some or even obvious, I feel sure there are many of us who will find it revelatory and energizing. Blom lectured on art at Pendle Hill, among other places, and wrote six PHPs on art (#128, 148, 183, 197, 215, and 232).
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Local notes

Pendle Hill Pamphlet 148

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Call number

CP 148/2


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