I don’t have deep and well thought out opinions on art criticism. I am merely a consumer of art, and an amateur one at that. But this post by Adam Gurri reminded me of an opinion that I have held for a long time, which is that art (by which I mean traditional arts like music, sculpture and painting, but also crafts which can be artistically done, like furniture making and architecture) has a powerful affect on the people who perceive it and appreciate it. The effect can be civilizing, and inspire people to live their own lives to the same standard of beauty and grace as the art.
I appreciate what Bill Gates is doing in Africa. It’s important work, Maybe over the timeline of centuries it will pay greater dividends than the existence of the Renaissance. But art is not a fruity waste of time and money either. Art, once created, can inspire for centuries. Long after the artist and his patron are both forgotten, the Basillica and the Ode to Joy can still be there, reminding us that this Earth can be a bit more like Heaven if only we try.