EVERYTHING PROFOUND, PART III

“Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’” mountaineer John Muir once asked an interviewer. “It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’”

PILGRIMAGE TO THE MUSEUM

Auth finds much to like in Realism, Impressionism, and modern art. He gives a fair read to Picasso, Seurat, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. He celebrates Salvador Dali’s 1954 “Crucifixion,” which depicts an ascendant, cosmic Christ.

But he’s also clear that the soul searching for God finds little sustenance in art grounded in atheism and secularism.

PIANIST MARIA YUDINA: HOLY FOOL

“Yudina was a strange person, and very much a loner.” “Strange things kept happening to her.” “Yudina saw music in a mystical light. For instance, she saw Bach’s Goldberg Variations as a series of illustrations to the Holy Bible,” Shostakovich observed. “She always played as though she were giving a sermon.”