Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Richard Lawrence Cohen

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it wasn't so much that the artists were Christian, it was that the patrons were. If you were an artist and you wanted paying work, and wanted your work to get seen or heard, you wrote a mass or painted a church fresco or whatever. The arist could well have been a freethinker or doubter. European landscape art, for example, first developed as painters put increasingly fetching and skillful landsce backgrounds into paintings with biblical scenes in the foreground.

Today "Christian art" in the popular sense means that the writer is a Christian, i.e. a propaganist for received opinions. That's never a good starting point for art. Of course some great modern writers -- Eliot, Auden -- have been Christians writing on their religion, but somehow they don't fit into the category "Christian art" as the label is now used. It's become a marketing genre label, and a rather lowbrow one at that. It aims at an audience who are looking for simplistic illustrations of what they already believe, rather than looking for guidance and companionship from complex fellow-seekers.

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