Form and sign. Beauty in Classic and Paleo – Christian arts
Beauty is mystery that fascinates. Man tries to reach it, to know it, to give it an ever more complete reppresentation. The history of arts is the story of this tension that touches a first supreme peak in classic Greece. The art of this period chases tirelessly the ideal of an absolute perfection, unmutable, ethernal, the ideal of a form capable of liberating itself from every contingency. The Greek model imposes thus itself for authoritativeness and expressive power as a binding term of comparison for the whole story of Western civilisation. Yet this ideal has the breath of a moment. Since the IV century, the representation of malincony, of sorrow, of dramma becomes ever more recurrent.
Grousset has written: “The human heart is deeper than ancient wisdom. Hellenism did not seam that much perfect because it had arbitrarily limited our vision of things… Hellenism fell for not having been able to give its place to human pain. The world after having wanted with his Olympic delighting in a beautiful dream had to recognise that sorrow is the law of life itself”.
Which was the stear of first Christans towards the immense heritage that reached them from the past? “Chrisianity has joint with Hellenism, with one that is of the most perfect forms of humanism, in an indissoluble binding…
Christianity has not suppressed that which humanity had created of greater before it but elsewise it has baptised it” (Moeller)