Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Rebbe on the artist

The primary talent of an artist is his or her ability to step away from the externalities of the thing and, disregarding its outer form, gaze into its innerness and perceive its essence, and to be able to convey this. Thus the object is revealed as it has never before been seen, since its inner content was obscured by secondary things. The artist exposes the essence of the thing he [or she] portrays, causing the one who looks at the painting to perceive it in another, truer light, and to realize that his [or her] prior perception was deficient.

And this is one of the foundations of man’s service of his [or her] Creator.

It is only that the divine power of tzimtzum (constriction) holds the divine life-force in a state of concealment and obscurity, and we perceive only its outer form (i.e., the physical reality).
Our mission in life is that we should approach everything in life from this perspective. That we should each strive to reveal, as much as possible, the divine essence in every thing, and minimize, to the extent that we are able, its concealment...

So one must take great care that secondary and external matters should not obscure the essentials of life and its ultimate purpose.

A person might experience difficulties, trials and challenges in separating the good from the bad. But these are but the means by which to achieve the purpose of life—that his [or her] soul should elevate itself through its positive deeds in this world... So one must never allow the difficulties in overcoming one’s trials, or even the fact that one might occasionally fail and stumble, to overwhelm the joy that one must feel.

1 comment:

  1. What exactly does the Rebbe mean by essence? For instance, did Van Gogh paint the essence of a sunflower? Or the essence of a starry night? It's an interesting subject.