Philosophy, Art, and Nature
Part III. Forms of Representation
I have examined the meaning of grace as a gift freely given, as an exercise in pure benevolence, and as an aesthetic and cultural expression, making refer- ence to a great ideative, ethical, symbolic, and anthropological machine. I have also analyzed its theological implications, highlighting the wonder ex- perienced by mankind elevated to a supernatural destiny. I have interpreted its figures, evolution, and structures, taking into consideration places, bodies, and materials, without overlooking the qualities that characterize it in terms of movement and lightness, unsayability and ineffability. I now turn to inter- preting the forms of its aesthetic and artistic representation in greater detail. Grace sometimes spills over into the area of gracefulness, its adjacent realm, considered as part of the broadening of issues that are important in the 1600s and 1700s. This second inroad, less airy and metaphysical, leads us into the domain of ornamentation even though it retains its original focus, which is on the sense of detachment from the world itself, nonchalance or indifference in the presence of things, and a gaze directed toward the past. The love that reigns never takes possession of, settles on, or invests in some- thing. In this perspective, we are not concerned with reality, which is to say, with objects, but with the evocation of feelings. Even arabesque and embroi- dery can be included in this process because they are equally indifferent to things and beings, as are the so-called major arts. The fundamental role of grace in the forms of...
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