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.


Jones, David - by Anne Price-Owen

Materializing the Immaterial - David Jones: Painter-Poet 

by Anne Price-Owen 

When he was just 7 years old, David Jones made a remarkable drawing of a Dancing Bear (1902), in the street where he lived, at Brockley, Kent (now a suburb of London). The drawing remained a favourite throughout his life, perhaps because it convinced him of his innate talent. 

He later admitted that ‘to convey on paper this or that object seemed to me as natural a desire as, say, stroking the cat.’ His predilection for animals can be seen in much of the art he created, whether in words or pictures, believing that ‘it was important to be anthropomorphic, to deal through and in the things we understand as men – to be incarnational.’ Incarnational carries associations with Christ, the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, and in terms of Jones’s beliefs – he converted from an Anglican to a Roman Catholic in 1921 - this is no accident. He saw the physical world as a manifestation of the divine presence which is in everything and, according to Kathleen Raine, for Jones ‘“Incarnational” was perhaps the most significant word of all. What is “capable of being loved and known” is God incarnate.’ Consequently, whatever he painted is a testament to his vision, and to the underlying ‘“unity of all made things.”’ ‘The painter’, he declared ‘must deny nothing, he must integrate everything … it is this … gathering all things in that torments the artist.’ As an artist, he believed he should include all allusions that he associated with the image of the thing painted. 

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