The purpose of art, Thomas Kinkade, etc.

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Puritan Board Sophomore
What is the purpose of art? As Reformed Christians, what would we consider to be "good", "God-honoring" art? (I know Francis Schaeffer wrote a lot about the arts, but I haven't read any of his stuff. Maybe some of my PB friends could fill me in as it is relevant.)

Would this "good" art, art that fulfills the purpose it was created for, be based on a Christian worldview (creation, fall, redemption)? Some important things about art, I think, would be to not portray images of God...and not to portray the "fall" aspects of the Christian worldview in a way that would be glorifying violence, immorality, etc, that might cause temptation or leave mental scars.

I read an Reformed/Christian article once where Thomas Kinkade's artwork was evaluated. I believe the author said the artwork didn't fit the Christian worldview because it portrayed scenes in this world/life as being completely flawless and entirely beautiful. The author then compared Kinkade with another artist who drew beautiful paintings of this world/life, but would include little imperfections of life in the drawing -- the drawing was a picnic on a beautiful day, but there were ants crawling on the blanket towards the picnic basket. Is this a valid point?



Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I haven't read the article, but I can most assuredly say that Thomas Kinkade's paintings are not good art. It is practically the same scene in every painting ... (Okay, that is just an opinion from someone who isn't too bad with a paint brush.) I would add that there should be an element of reality to our art; although I would say that Kinkade's stuff does one thing: it presents harmony. I wouldn't say it is necessarily out of step with a Christian worldview, though.

We are to 'redeem' culture/art from chaos. Our music is to be orderly and present beauty (think the opposite of some of John Zorn & other postmodern composers/performers' music). Our art is to be orderly and present beauty and be truth, etc. Hope this isn't too far off the mark of what you are looking for.


Puritan Board Doctor
Kinkade's paintings may not be good art (and I would agree with that), but they sure sell. He is a marketing genius. He has a formula in his works that appeals to the 'squishy middle' theologically and to the sentimental in the larger market.


Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Schaeffer published a small booklet on art, but much of his thinking on the matter was influenced by his interaction with Hans Rookmaaker.
Google his name, download Art Needs No Justification, then read some of the other links presented in that search.
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