Stripped by art

It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it. – Voltaire

Art does something to me. Deep in the recesses of my soul. The expressive quality of paint, in particular, reaches into the fathoms of my being and wrenches out raw emotion and appreciation. Intellectualising emotion belongs to the inescapable condition of being human, and exists as part of our incessant need to know; to understand. But the beauty of art (in all of its forms) lies not in any explanation but rather in its magnificent ability to conjure response.

Words will always handicap the purity of emotion – thoughts mediate and thus obstruct reaction. Expression through paint, a medium that is brought to life with the assistance of fundamental physicality, provokes pleasure. Standing in the Tate Britain staring at the sublime tragedy of St. Eulalia, rendered by the interpretive imagination of John William Waterhouse, afflicts my sense of self with excruciating ferocity. Leaving me stripped.

Simply stated; art makes me happy.

And science agrees. A recent scientific study claims to have shown that beautiful paintings produce the same brain activity we feel when we see someone we love: biologically, great art is pure joy.

The prescriptions that dictate ‘beauty’ can be argued but an individual’s emotive response to that which said individual perceives to be beautiful cannot be debated. Art pleads with us to engage, to participate, in the miracle of Life, which reverberates in our midst at an intensity dictated by our generosity of spirit.

It makes sense to immerse oneself in that which grants intoxicating delight.