“[Jacques Maritain] does have a great understanding
of the nature of art, which he gets from St. Thomas.” ~Flannery O’Connor
Art and Scholasticism is Jacques Maritain’s classic argument for an objective view of both art and the artist. Understanding that the beauty of art is rooted in the transcendental property of Being, Maritain explores how artists must be disciplined by the habitus of their craft if their art is to be of more than ephemeral value. Like T. S. Eliot, Maritain sees the artist as essentially a maker or craftsman and not the vatic orifice of romanticism’s myth. Maritain provides a strong dissenting perspective on the lazy, self-flattering artistic assumptions of the past two centuries. Brian Barbour’s Introduction gives a fascinating summary of Maritain’s philosophical background, his conversion to Catholicism and work in Thomistic thought, and the importance of Art and Scholasticism in understanding aesthetics—be it in poetry, painting, music, or literature. Art and Scholasticism is a must-read for lovers of art and wisdom alike.
Praise for Art and Scholasticism
“Art and Scholasticism is one of those classic works that needs to be rediscovered by each new generation. It combines the simplicity of a primer (who can ever forget his distinction between “making” and “doing”?) with a subtlety of thought born of deep reflection. Maritain’s book has always had a liberating effect on those who read it. In showing the right relationship between art and morality, Maritain saves art from being reduced to propaganda, while at the same time challenging the artist to bring the wholeness of his humanity (including his faith) to making of the work. Above all, Maritain’s passion for modern art—his firm conviction that faith and craft could generate masterpieces in a contemporary idiom—separates him from all those addicted to a narrative of decline. The proof of this is that Art and Scholasticism influenced some of the greatest Christian artists of the twentieth century, including T.S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, David Jones, and Flannery O’Connor—artists whose work was daring, experimental, radical in the deepest sense. May it have such a generative impact in our own time. ~Gregory Wolfe, editor of Image, and the author of Beauty Will Save the World and other books
“This new edition of Jacques Maritain’s 1920 book, Art and Scholasticism, is given more than just a reprint by Cluny Media: it is refreshed and revitalized. Relying primarily on J.F. Scanlan’s 1930 translation, this edition also draws on Joseph W. Evans’ 1962 version where the latter offers a clearer rendering of Thomistic terminology. Art and Scholasticism performs a crucial task, rendering intelligible the relationship between creative art, perceptions of beauty, and being itself. Brian Barbour’s masterful introduction captures both the timeliness and timelessness of Maritain’s call for a return to aesthetic sanity in the face of a Romantic exaltation of the artist-as-creator, of an overflowing subjectivity that has left us moderns terminally fixated on the new rather than the real.” ~Richard Francis Crane, Professor of History, Benedictine College
“We owe enormous thanks to Cluny Media for putting back into print Jacques Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, a timeless reminder of the transcendent power of beauty and of the noble dignity of the artist. And happily prefaced with Flannery O’Connor scholar Brian Barbour’s delightful introduction, this edition will go a long way towards inviting a new generation to share Maritain’s intoxicating vision. I shall be ordering it for my students forthwith.” ~Raymond F. Hain, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Providence College
About the Author
Jacques Maritain (1882–1973) was perhaps the greatest Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century. A convert, along with his wife Raïssa, from agnosticism to Catholicism, Maritain wrote extensively on metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, and the philosophy of history—all with the guiding inspiration of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Brian Barbour is Professor Emeritus of English at Providence College where he was for many years Director of The Development of Western Civilization Program. He has also been a Visiting Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge. Barbour has edited four books and written numerous articles on a wide range of authors.