Part III: The Artistic Vocation in the Service of Beauty
3. A noted Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid, wrote that "beauty is to enthuse
us for work, and work is to raise us up".
The theme of beauty is decisive for a discourse on art. It was already
present when I stressed God's delighted gaze upon creation. In perceiving that
all he had created was good, God saw that it was beautiful as well. The link
between good and beautiful stirs fruitful reflection. In a certain sense, beauty
is the visible form of the good, just as the good is the metaphysical condition
of beauty. This was well understood by the Greeks who, by fusing the two
concepts, coined a term which embraces both: kalokagathía, or beauty-goodness.
On this point Plato writes: "The power of the Good has taken refuge in the
nature of the Beautiful".
It is in living and acting that man establishes his relationship with being,
with the truth and with the good. The artist has a special relationship to
beauty. In a very true sense it can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed
on him by the Creator in the gift of "artistic talent". And,
certainly, this too is a talent which ought to be made to bear fruit, in keeping
with the sense of the Gospel parable of the talents (cf. Mt 25:14-30).
Here we touch on an essential point. Those who perceive in themselves this
kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation—as poet, writer, sculptor,
architect, musician, actor and so on—feel at the same time the obligation not to
waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their
neighbour and of humanity as a whole.