Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Forte, Bruno: The Portal of Beauty

Book info

Bruno Forte: The Portal of Beauty: Towards a Theology of Aesthetics, Eerdmans, 2008. 

A famous Italian theologian's eloquent reflections on beauty and God. "Beauty is an event: it happens when the Whole, the All, offers itself to us in the fragment, when the Infinite makes itself little." This is how Bruno Forte describes the long-held Christian tradition that sees God as the source of all beauty. In The Portal of Beauty Forte examines the deep, though not always obvious, contribution of theological thought from the minds of such luminaries as Augustine, Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Balthasar, and Evdokimovto to our understanding and experience of beauty. The Portal of Beauty is an erudite, moving, and deeply-felt study by the most famous Italian theologian in Italy on the nature of beauty and how it can lead us to a greater understanding of and communion with the divine. 

Forte is the Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, and preached at the final retreat of Pope John Paul. As a spiritual guide to the Pontiff, Forte was trusted as a deep man of faith, a thoughtful and solid theologian, and a good observer of the culture of the emerging 21st century. Here, we have his reflections on beauty. He is influenced somewhat by the magisterial work of Balthasar and Evdokimov, but also of Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky and other such luminaries. Robin Jensen of Vanderbilt (The Substance of Things Seen) calls him "lucid and eloquent" and that "we are reminded that beauty is both transcendent and terrifying, calling us to consciousness of our mortality." Luci Shaw says "if you are sick of banality and superficiality, dive into Portal of Beauty and be refreshed and enlarged."