The Art of Seeing

Plotinus: Gathering in & Sculpting the Self   

with Mary Attwood

Thursday 25th January 2024

7-8pm UK time via Zoom

£10

7

 

“Go back inside yourself and look: if you do not yet see yourself as beautiful [as participating in the Idea of Beauty], then do as the sculptor does with a statue he wants to make beautiful; he chisels away one part, and levels off another, makes one spot smooth and another clear, until he shows forth a beautiful face on the statue…”

Plotinus, Enneads I 6, 9

 

This session will be recorded.

Through the Enneads, the great neo-Platonic philosopher Plotinus,  describes a practical application of philosophical ideas on the soul and the art of living, which help the individual to turn fragmented attention back to clarity, and indecision and depleted energy to a gathering in of one’s self. This is particularly relevant for this time of year in the Northern hemisphere where Nature rests and rejuvenates. This is a time for recollecting oneself, tuning in, and not expending too much physical energy.  Returning to one’s soul and the physical home of the body helps us to restore and refine our thoughts, our energies.

The forms of meditation Plotinus describes are always with the self in relationship with vivid imagery, metaphor and sometimes as a work of art itself– a sculpture in the process of being sculpted, much as in the same way that we are continually in a co-creative relationship with ourselves and the world.  In this session we will be guided by Plotinus’ words as we engage with just one sculpture, which through its tangible form, reveals inner qualities of the soul – stillness with movement, intuition, imagination, beauty –  and suggest ways we might gather in, recollect, re-focus, at the beginning of this new year. As Plotinus writes;

 

Go back inside yourself and look: if you do not yet see yourself as beautiful, then do as the sculptor does with a statue he wants to make beautiful; he chisels away one part, and levels off another, makes one spot smooth and another clear, until he shows forth a beautiful face on the statue. Like him, remove what is superfluous, straighten what is crooked, clean up what is dark and make it bright, and never stop sculpting your own statue, until the godlike splendour of virtue shines forth to you… If you have become this, and seen it, and become pure and alone with yourself, with nothing now preventing you from becoming one in this way, and have nothing extraneous mixed with your self… if you see that this is what you have become, then you have become a vision.”

 

These sessions take a threefold approach of theory, practice and reflection with just one work of art.  The work of art will not be revealed until the session, but do please bring open open eyes, ears and a pen and paper! Or, if you prefer to just listen and look, you can do that too.  These sessions are open to everyone whether you are a seasoned art lover or not. 

 

 

 This session will be recorded. To book please click here to go to Mary Attwood’s website.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Mary is co-founder and director of The Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, an art historian, author, mentor and business creative. She is co-founder and director of Channel McGilchrist, was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of The Arts Society, is a qualified practitioner of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, has published two books with Watkins, and published an ancestral family book in the Summer 2023.

Mary’s teaching and research seek to offer a broader understanding of art, not as an object to be analysed, but as a bridge between seemingly disparate ways of understanding the world and our place in it. While honouring the historical, broadening perceptions of art beyond rationalising analysis, categories and styles, opens doorways both in us and in the image. But beyond this, how we look at art art can reveal ways of knowing and seeing that change not only what we see in art, but change us and the world around us, and can help us meet the complexities of modern living by offering a renaissance of humane values.

 

 

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