Mystery

DEFINITION

Something not understood or beyond reasoning, and therefore exciting curiosity and wonder. Synonyms include: enigma, problem, riddle, puzzle, secret, and paradox.In Christian tradition, a mystery is a supernatural truth knowable only by revelation ? that which cannot be fully understood. Or, a ceremony to which only the initiated are admitted."Mystery" also has an archaic, now obsolete meaning: a guild, as of artisans or merchants. In the Latin of the Middle Ages, mysterium was a craft-guild, an alteration of the Late Latin ministerium, occupation, from minister, assistant, servant.Quote: "A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." Edgar Degas (1834-1917), French Impressionist painter and sculptor. Georges Jeanniot, Memories of Degas, 1933. "Mystery is, moreover, like a kind of atmosphere which bathes the greatest works of the masters." Ausust Rodin (1840-1917), French sculptor. Art, translated by Paul Gsell, 1912. "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German scientist. "To explain away the mystery of a great painting ? if such a feat were possible ? would be irreparable harm. . . . If there is no mystery then there is no 'poetry.' " Georges Braque (1882-1963), French Cubist painter. To John Richardson, Observer, December, 1957. "Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist." Rene-Francois-Ghislain Magritte (1898-1967), Belgian Surrealist painter. "The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." Francis Bacon (1909-1992), British painter. "When I think of art I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection." Agnes Martin (1912-2004), American modernist painter. See beauty and perfection. Also see beauty, chinoiserie, fantasy, genius, interdisciplinary, knowledge, meaning, mind, motivation, oneiric, Romanticism, sublime, Surrealism, and Symbolism.

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