Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Boreham Pointing to Art

F W Boreham’s many references to artists and paintings indicated that art was a significant sphere to which he pointed and encouraged his readers to gaze.[1] His convictions that “art has a special ministry”[2] and “we owe more to pictures than we suspect,”[3] hint at the spiritual dimension of art.

The capacity of art to serve as a subtle ‘pointer’ to God is helpfully discussed by author Richard Harries, when he said:

"True art always has a spiritual dimension. Yet, if religion tries to turn it into propaganda the spiritual would slip away. Works of art inescapably witness, by their truth and beauty to their fount and origin in God himself. Yet religion, always in danger of being corrupted and corrupting does not have this at its beck and call …. It cannot use it for its own ends. It can, however, recognize and praise both the artist and the artist’s God, and, where appropriate seek to express its own deepest truth in works of truth and beauty, regardless of whether the artist has a professed religious faith or not."[4]

Geoff Pound

Image: “Art has a special ministry.” The iconic triptych, ‘The Pioneer’, by the Australian artist, Frederick McCubbin.

[1] References to many of the painters and paintings cited in Boreham’s editorials are listed in an earlier posting, entitled F W Boreham on Art.
[2] F W Boreham, The other side of the hill, 31.
[3] F W Boreham, Rubble and roseleaves (London: The Epworth Press, 1923), 227.
[4] Richard Harries, Art and the beauty of God (London: Mowbray, 1993), 113-114, 139.