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“What I seek to express…is the Sacred combined with Beauty, thus spiritual attitudes and virtues of soul. And the vibration that emanates from the paintings must lead inward.”

Man lives by Truth and Beauty; it is only relatively recently that Schuon — widely recognized for his metaphysical writings — has become known as a painter of great skill and unique insight. This new volume presents for the first time 125 full color plates of Schuon’s work plus many more in black and white. The subjects here are predominantly taken from the fascinating world of the American Indians. Also included, however, are many canvases concerning the mystery of celestial and human femininity. The main features of Schuon’s art are the nobility of the subject, the precision of the drawing and the “impressionistic” reverberation of the surface or colors. “What I seek to express…is the Sacred combined with Beauty, thus spiritual attitudes and virtues of soul. And the vibration that emanates from the paintings must lead inward.”

Frithjof Schuon is not a painter who is interested in metaphysics; he is a metaphysician who from time to time produces a painting. This distinction is essential because his fundamental vocation is the perennial wisdom as it is expressed in his written works, whereas his art appears rather as an expression of the aesthetic, psychological or moral dimension of the Philosophia Perennis. In other words, Schuon is interested not only in metaphysical principles, but also—by way of consequence—in their cosmic and human radiation; which means, not that he intentionally puts this or that archetype or symbolism into a painting—which in fact he does not— but simply that his spiritual insight, or let us say his contemplative mind, manifests itself in his artistic productions.

The subject of Schuon’s art is on the one hand the Plains Indian world, and on the other hand the mystery of cosmic and human femininity; Goethe’s “Eternal Feminine” (das Ewig-Weibliche) or the Hindu Shakti. The first subject has its roots in his affinity with the fascinating world of Red Indian heroism and mysticism; the second subject of his art—sacred femininity—has its roots in metaphysics and cosmology; one could also say, in a more relative sense, in Schuon’s affinity with Hinduism. In fact, his representations of the Virgin Mary are not intended to be Christian icons; they universalize the celestial Virgin in a manner which makes one think of Hindu and possibly Mahayanic art.

Towards the end of this collection, the reader will find a number of images which are not Red Indian; some of them represent the Virgin Mary seen in an esoteric light, some others represent the Hindu mystics Akka Mahadevi and Lalla Yogishwari, or other women saints of the same type, both subjects being connected with the tantric mystery of sacred nudity. This last remark also applies to the images of the White-Buffalo-Cow-Woman who brought the Sacred Pipe to the Lakota Indians; we may add that the headdresses she wears in some of Schuon’s paintings, or other details, have a symbolic import and do not mean that the heavenly person actually appeared in that way. In this context, let us repeat here an opinion of a French author: the feathered crown of the Red Indians is the most majestic headdress the human genius ever conceived. In fact, the Plains Indian genius is like a combination of the buffalo, the eagle and the sun, symbolically speaking; earth and heaven, and between them the messenger of the gods.

You will find on this website some paitings from Images of Primordial and Mystic Beauty.

Other paintings by Frithjof Schuon have been published in The Feathered Sun, Plains Indians in Art and Philosophy.

Michael Pollack's Introduction to Images of Primordial and Mystical Beauty.

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Paintings by Frithjof Schuon are displayed by courtesy of World Wisdom. Copyright© 2000 Frithjof Schuon.

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