Dawn Eden posted this at her blog The Dawn Patrol, and I want to pass it along. Being that I'm yammering all the time about beauty, I thought I'd post something beautiful.
One thing to note is that neither the old man singing, nor Tom Waits (in the background) have what most people would call a beautiful voice. The orchestration is magnificently subtle and truly gorgeous, but the singing is not something that would make it past round one of American Idol. It isn't pretty, yet it is hauntingly beautiful.
That is part of the mystery of beauty.
As a painter, I'm fascinated with light and form, and I find great beauty in the interplay of light and shadow, reflected light and color. In order to establish any real sense of light, though, there must be some contrast - some shadowed places - and there can be no thinking about solidity and form without also allowing for the emptiness of negative space that these forms inhabit. Similarly, rough edges and textures clarify the meaning of smooth edges and fine gradations.
My own traditional still lifes tend to be dark, overall, with the objects emerging from shadow into light, or floating against the dark like the planets, and I think anything really beautiful will take into account and explore not just the light and the pleasing forms, but also the emptiness, the darkness and the rough edges of existence. In terms of art, mere prettiness is the enemy of beauty.
Be sure and read the story behind the video at The Dawn Patrol.
(Incidentally, this kind of thing is why I'm not actively boycotting YouTube for some of the nasty, bigoted, hateful, blasphemous videos they allow to run. YouTube might be run by a bunch of God-hating fascists, I don't know, but this is one of those cultural areas in which we need to be engaged. The best way to fight blasphemous videos is with beautiful videos, methinks.)