In this wonderful book I found a comparison of two paintings of the Holy
Family one by Rembrandt and one by Nicholas Poussin.
While Poussin presents the viewer with idealized figures in a harmoniously balanced and orderly setting. Rembrandt renders the image of the family in terms of the household of a Dutch working family. From the academic point of view as informed by its then notion of beauty, Rembrandt’s work falls far short. But does it? scholar Jakob Rosenberg observed many years ago, in Rembrandt’s work spiritual truth-with roots in the Bible_trumps a classicist sense of beauty based on a fully controlled order. Rosenberg argued that since for Rembrandt the essence of truth about man and nature lies in the ultimate relationship of everything created to the Creator, Rembrandt accepts all things, beautiful or not, their mere existence makes them worth while, as issuing from God. This according to Rosenberg, also explains the formal quality of Rembrandt’s art. Forms, in his compositions are not allowed to become too definite or to have finality, since this would break their contact with the life process. if Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro has any deeper purpose, it is this to suggest to keep alive these mysterious relationships, so true yet so impenetrable for the purely rational approach, so strongly felt by the artist’s intuitive and religious mind yet closed to the view of the aesthete and the classicist who insist upon beauty and a fully controlled order.”
These thoughts come after reading principles in a letter by Pope Francis.
Peace is greater than conflict,
the whole is greater than the parts,
action is greater than ideas and
time is greater than space.