Essays by Eric Gill with and introduction by Catherine Pickstock
An extraordinary rapidity of communications is one of the trumpeted virtues of our age. The present moments celebratory blindness, however, renders us incapable of recognizing the persistently slow, even glacial, movement of ideas – nowhere better seen than in the ideas that characterize our view of “The Real” (see note). For, as Catherine Pickstock so forcefully demonstrates in her brilliant introduction to this new publication of Beauty Looks After Herself, for 600 or more years, the Real has been progressively stripped of transcendental content, so that today an "unbearable lightness of being" presents us with the terrible spectacle of numberless possibilities evacuated of all substantive content. We are left only with a tyranny of choice, with no objective meaning and thus criteria whereby to judge what to choose. A middlebrow landscape of normal nihilism surrounds us at every turn.
Eric Gill saw through our dilemma long ago. Here, in essays on industrialism, architecture, stone-carving, lettering, clothes, philosophies of art, and much else, Gill emerges as the unabashed proponent of "every man an artist" – "every man as the crafter of the liturgy of the ordinary," as Pickstock so aptly puts it. In these essays is issued a call for the recovery of the Real in all its glory, especially the transcendental of Beauty, in which Truth and Goodness co-inhere – a call to return to “The Real” once again it’s rightful and actual plenitude.
Note - The Real refers to that which is authentic, the unchangeable truth in reference both to being/the Self and the external dimension of experience, also referred to as the infinite and absolute - as opposed to a reality based on sense perception and the material order.
This books is text only and, sadly, contains no examples of Gill’s work. But what it does contain is 13 fascinating essays on the following subjects: Art and Prudence; Repository Art
Twopence Plain, Penny Coloured; Art and Sanctification; Architecture as Sculpture; Paintings and Criticism; Sculpture and the Living Model; Architecture and Machines;
Art and the People; Plain Architecture; Painting and the Public; Art and Industrialism and Beauty Looks after Herself and discusses the importance of the artists remaining true to themselves through their work.
1st Angelico Press edition, 2012, reproduction of the original 1933 publication from Sheed & Ward, 254pp text only, 12.8 x 20.3 cm