“Beauty matters because it reminds us of what is worth struggling for.”
In a world of utility and function, where nothing is seen as valuable unless it is a tool, Patricia Watwood reminds us that there is something above. Prior to usefulness, there is good. Things are only useful because they achieve some higher good.
The good, the true, and the beautiful are interrelated concepts in classical philosophy. That means that art is not only about seeking one’s own personal pleasures and tastes, but about demonstrating truth, and leading people to hope in a higher purpose.
The sublime thing about the human figure is that it symbolizes this demonstration and this quest. In its materiality, its earthiness, it is objective. But in its beauty it is ideal. We can see the marriage of heaven and earth in it.
As a painter of the nude myself, I have long wanted to find words for what Ms. Watwood expressed. But they are better said by a female artist, and I applaud her vulnerability in doing so.