Artis Divina - Where Artists find ways to follow God

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Art does heal: scientists say appreciating creative works can fight off disease

    Researchers from California University in Berkeley say studies show great nature and art boost the immune system

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
People visit the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Photo: Getty

The healing power of art and nature could be real after scientists discovered they boost your immune system.
Seeing such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon and Sistine Chapel or listening to Schubert's Ave Maria can fight off disease, say scientists.
Great nature and art boost the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.
Monet's Water Lily Pond paintings
In two separate experiments on more than 200 young adults reported on a given day the extent to which they had experienced such positive emotions as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride.
Samples of gum and cheek tissue - known as oral mucosal transudate - taken that same day showed those who experienced more of these - in particular wonder and amazement - had the lowest levels of the cytokine Interleukin 6 which is a marker of inflammation.
Psychologist Dr Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, said: "That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions - a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art - has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy."
Cytokines are chemicals necessary for herding cells to the body's battlegrounds to fight infection, disease and trauma but too many are linked with disorders like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer's.
Dr Jennifer Stellar, of Toronto University who was at California University in Berkeley when she carried out the study, said: "Our findings demonstrate positive emotions are associated with the markers of good health."
It has long been established a healthy diet and lots of sleep and exercise bolster the body's defences against physical and mental illnesses.
But the study published in Emotion is one of the first to look at the role of positive emotions in that arsenal.
In addition to autoimmune diseases elevated cytokines have been tied to depression.
One recent study found depressed patients had higher levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine known as TNF-alpha than their non-depressed counterparts.
It is believed by signalling the brain to produce inflammatory molecules cytokines can block key hormones and neurotransmitters - such as serotonin and dopamine - that control moods, appetite, sleep and memory.
Dr Stellar said: "Awe is associated with curiosity and a desire to explore which could counter inflammation where individuals typically withdraw from others in their environment."
As for which came first - the low cytokines or the positive feelings - it's "possible having lower cytokines makes people feel more positive emotions or the relationship is bi-directional.

Original article found here at the telegraph:

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Importance of Beauty - Roger Scruton on the BBC

A Quite Excellent essay on the importance and usefulness and utter uselessness of Beauty.
Beauty that has been abandoned by the realm of present day plastic and visual Arts. While the vapid Art World loudly proclaims that whatever they say goes as "ART", Roger Scruton presents a cogent, patient, and gentle counter argument. Real Art does in fact have meaning and leads us to transcendence. However the current Art Drivel that is self proclaimed, and self important does not.

- Paul Kiler

Philosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives.

In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert.

Using the thoughts of philosophers from Plato to Kant, and by talking to artists Michael Craig-Martin and Alexander Stoddart, Scruton analyses where art went wrong and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty to its traditional position at the centre of our civilisation

Watch this link below, 57 minutes

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Passing of Johnny Hart

Johnny Hart

(18/2/1931 - 7/4/2007, USA)

- Gary Varvel
"The world has just lost a cartooning giant. Johnny Hart was one of the masters. His humor and drawing style influenced my generation of cartoonists but it was how he wove his faith into his work that inspired me most. The Bible says that God knows the plans he has for us. Johnny discovered early in life what God's plan was for him and he fulfilled that plan. Well done, Johnny."

- Gary Varvel, editorial cartoonist

From Paul: I've been a fan of Johnny Hart's comics with a Christian thought, as a method of enjoying our Christianity, and sharing it with others. I appreciated his creativity, and his humor. He will be missed. Following are a selection of tribute toons, and some from my archive that I've gathered.
(click to open larger)

There once was a cartoonist named Hart
For the Gospel he did his small part
And he proved it’s not a rumor
That God has a sense of humor
Picking Easter for Johnny to depart

posted on 04/08/2007 12:27:47 PM PDT by EternalVigilance

The Strip that caused so much controversy...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Love of God the End of Life

Since life in sorrow must be spent,

So be it—I am well content,

And meekly wait my last remove,

Seeking only growth in love.

No bliss I seek, but to fulfil In life,

in death, thy lovely will;

No succours in my woes I want,

Save what thou art pleased to grant.

Our days are numbered, let us spare

Our anxious hearts a needless care: '

Tis thine to number out our days;

Ours to give them to thy praise.

Love is our only business here,

Love, simple, constant, and sincere;

O blessed days, thy servants see,

Spent, O Lord! in pleasing thee!

Translation from the French of Madame de la Mothe Guion by William Cowper

Dear Lord, with the birth of our second boy,
Phoenix Andrew Kiler,
Help me truly realize the importance in the poem above...
Help me to do nothing more than love.

Your Loving Son, Paul

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Beauty of Your Face

The Beauty of Your Face

I am touched by the warmth of a sunbeam.
In it I feel the echo of Your eternal caress.
Lord, I feel You.

I hear a bird singing Your song of hope.
His sweet melody carries promises of Your Glory.
Lord, I hear You.

Yes Lord, you are here with me.
You live in my heart.
You experience my joy when I laugh,
And You cry my tears when I am sad.
But You never leave me Lord,
And I know that.

What darkness then seeks to cover my soul
As the deepest point of my person cries out to be held?
This desire must be for You Lord,
As I crave the sweet succor of Your presence.
You and eternal life,
Living and breathing from my soul outward.
Waiting for the day that we will be united in Glory.
Come quickly Lord!

How could I have questioned Your promises to me?
What arrogance I possess!
To think me above Your love,
And above the sacrifices You have made on my behalf.
Lord, please forgive me in my unbelief.

My urgent cries for your attention are always heard.
Yes, I feel You even while I lament your absence.
Your love has no bounds,
And Your grace is a mystery
That I can comprehend only as You breathe through my prayers.

Help me to focus all of my energy on advancing toward Your kingdom Lord.
Help me to share the beauty that I see.
The beauty that is You.
So that as I look into the eyes of my brother,
I see not a face from this world
But I see the beauty of Your face smiling back at me.


posted by Albert Romkema at:

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

I have happened upon a blog of poems by another man whose work is very special, and speaks to me, especially following the Lord's Prayer images from my last post.

You can find his posts, (albeit meager pickings), at:

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

I am constantly reminded of my own weakness
As I sense the weakness of my brother.
I feel great pains of loneliness
As I try to relate to the solitary lives we all must lead.
There is hope only in finding You Lord.
Only Your comfort can bring us back from despair.
Speak in me Your prayer of love Lord,
And take away my pain.

I often feel alone and desperate when I imagine You are absent.
When I consider how my life might be without You reigning within me I shudder.
How could others reject You Lord?
How could any of us reject Your call?
Such love and promise You offer.
For the free gift of grace,
All we need do is consent to Your love and welcome You.
Loud claims of our goodness will not cause You to answer,
But only from our silence in humility will You speak our name and call us beloved.
Speak in me Your prayer of grace Lord,
And share my path.

I consent to Your arrival.
I know that when You breathe in me, all people are enriched.
When You share my pain, all of nature is blessed.
Truly we are all one people, searching for and finding You from within our suffering.
Pain and grace coexist,
Lifting our souls toward Your love.
Speak in me Your prayer of community Lord,
And bind us all by Your love.

Teach me to pray.
Help me learn to live a life where my actions and Your will are the same.
Teach me to hold on to the secrets I hear You whisper even now.
Fill my soul with Your sweetness I pray,
Pull me into the gap that holds eternity.
And bring me home.


posted by Albert Romkema

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Lord's Prayer, by Max Pechstein, 1921

I have really enjoyed these prints of the Lord's Prayer, by Pechstein, since discovering them a few years ago... And it's so very nice to have such good quality images to enjoy, courtesy of the Robert Gore Rifkind collection at LACMA, ~ THANKS ~ LACMA!!!!

Take some time, and pray these images...

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven

Hallowed be thy Name

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven

Give us this day, our daily bread

And forgive us our debts

As we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For Thine is the Kingdom

And the Power, and the Glory

Forever and ever, AMEN

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Favorite Sculptures of Christ

These very large scultpures of Christ have shaped my thoughts in any number of ways, and I'm glad that the people responsible had the time, energy and money to create these gigantic monuments...

Christ Redeemer
top of Corcovado Hill, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Cristo del Otero, in Palencia, Spain, by Víctorio Macho. It's the second largest Christ statue in the world, after the Corcovado, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Cristo Rey (Christ the King) along I-10 at Sunland Park, New Mexico.
This statue was made by the sculptor Urbici Soler, completed 1939.

Earliest depictions of Christ

The British Museum says that this Roman 4th C. mosaic discovered in England in 1963, at Hinton St. Mary, Dorset, is the earliest known representation of Christ. (the two greek letters chi and ro, [X and P] behind the head indicate that this is Christ. The Chi-ro monogram refers to His name, and was the usual symbol of early Christianity.

I'd maybe take issue with the statement calling this the earliest, as the early catacombs had depictions of the Good Shepherd, a common early aspect of Christ depicted, as seen below; but as also seen below, another 4th C. catacomb painting, of Christ as Alpha and Omega. Both pieces of Art are incredibly early, and probably both are the first directly attributable images of the Christ, in a deity image.

Commodilla Catacomb
First image of Christ in a beard,
late 4th C.

Christ the Good Shepherd
early Christian - 3rd C.
painting on ceiling, S. Callisto catacomb

early Christian
the earliest iconography, San Callisto

5th C. Coptic textile

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