Why is it that we often feel disturbed in a modern art museum? Surrounded by artifacts of our own culture, we should feel right at home. But many of these unrecognizable and fragmented images fail to communicate the true meaning of the human person. If, as Chesterton put it, “Art is the signature of man,” then today that signature betrays a dangerous disorientation.
“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” The soul, the image and likeness of God, shines through the human face. In fact, our concept of “person” most likely comes from the ancient Etruscan phersu, the word for a sculpted face of god, an imago Dei.
The perfect face mirrors the perfect soul, the soul in complete conformity with God. This perfection is not physical beauty, but a spiritual perfection that shines through the human face. When we speak of a person’s “inner beauty,” we are acknowledging that the spiritual soul is revealed through the human face.