Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dutton Quote: Seriousness & Religion

In completing Denis Dutton’s, “The Art Instinct” I enjoyed this quote a great deal:

…absolute seriousness of purpose comes ultimately from an individual, not just a culture, and most great artists, musicians, and writers demonstrate a rare and often obsessional commitment to solving artistic problems in themselves. (240)

What I like about this quote is that is supports my own theories.  What I feel Dutton is getting at in this section of his book is that art historically supported religion, deriving its sense of passion and transcendental nature from religion itself.  However, contemporary art now often becomes its own religion.  Art becomes the pursuit of answers and purpose for its own reasons and to its own end.  It gives meaning to the artist, whether the artist is a believer or atheist.   This gives the work the unique sense of seriousness that Dutton describes.

Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct, Bloomsbury Press, 2009