Armchair

I notice that I abhor ugliness more passionately than I love beauty.

Ugliness is quite common, to the point of being oppressive.

Maybe that is why beauty, to me at least, is an occasion for repose rather than passionate arousal. Beauty in a strange sort of way is soporific. Maybe a better word would be disarming.

Ugliness is impinging, a rain of blows.

A glimpse of beauty offers shelter.

Matisse’s oft-ridiculed comment in Notes of a Painter, that he dreamt of “an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art that could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair that provides relaxation from fatigue,” communicates to me a similar sentiment.

I surmise that balance at its most fundamental involves the rhythmicization of what would otherwise remain contingent. That is how art overcomes agitation.