The Way of Beauty courses:

The Way of Beauty, mini course for 25 hours continuing education units ($99)

A History and Practical Theology of Images - an extended version of The Way of Beauty course above, available for 3 Masters-level college credits ($900) or audit ($300).

The Mathematics of Beauty - Section 2 of my book The Way of Beauty discusses the traditional mathematics of harmony and proportion as used in art and architecture for centuries. This course extends and explains more fully the information contained in the book. This is available for 2 Masters level college credits ($600) or audit ($200). 

All available through www.Pontifex.University.

All programs can be taken online.

If you want to get into more depth, look at the Master of Sacred Arts program at www.Pontifex.University. This is a program for creative artists in any medium, and for all others who wish to contribute to the culture of today beautifully and gracefully in any way. John Paul II told us that everyone is called to be artist, in which their own life is a beautiful reflection of divine beauty. We can help you answer that call.

Do you have a Masters and would like to go on and do a doctorate, but are now so busy that you can't stop everything for full-time study? Consider the Theology Doctorate (Th.D) with Pontifex University. This can be 100% home study - even your dissertation defence can be done via video conference. 

 
 
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Have you ever wondered why this painting by Vermeer is still admired by so many centuries after it was painted...  

 
 
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Or why Christ Crowned with Thorns by the 15th century Italian artist Fra Angelico can draw thousands of people to an exhibition in New York...

 
 
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Yet they blew this building up less than 50 years after it was built?

 
 
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Why do you think this 18th-century mass housing has become a holiday destination...

 
 
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while few wanted even to walk close to this 20th century mass housing, let alone live there, even a decade after it was built?  

 

A significant reason is that the beauty in their forms, or the lack of it, makes them desirable or undesirable and this in turn affects their utility. Beauty and utility are inseparable. The form of these paintings and buildings are reflections of the worldview of those who created them, which are in turn a manifestation of the culture of the society they lived in.

Although not all the were made for the liturgy, the forms are profoundly connected to how people in that society worship, as with the whole culture, for this is what shapes all that we believe most powerfully. If you want to understand how all these things are connected, and how the forms of Western culture are connected to the way in which a society worships and most profoundly the Sacred Liturgy, then you you will find answers in the online course, the Way of Beauty, which can now be taken for college credit.

Who should take these courses?

For artists, for architects, for priests and seminarians, for educators, for all undergraduates! And for everyone who seeks what every Catholic education should offer — a formation in beauty through a living encounter with a cultural inheritance.

This is so much more than an art history course...it does precisely what the Church tells us all education should: an "integral formation through a living encounter with a cultural inheritance" (The Catholic School, 26; pub the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, 1977).

  • For all those who love and want to help create a beautiful culture. If you love art, architecture and music and want to know what makes these or indeed any aspect of the culture Catholic; if you who wish to know how we can reestablish a culture of beauty in the West and wish to contribute to it creatively in any discipline, then you will love this course too.
  • For artists who are looking for a formation that accompanies the skills they are learning elsewhere. This offers a formation that will enhance their creativity and understand how to make their work more beautiful.
  • For architects and architecture students who want to gain a thorough understanding in how to incorporate traditional harmony and proportion into what they do, and why this will make their buildings more beautiful.
  • For patrons of the arts and especially priests and seminarians who are in a position to affect the whole culture profoundly by patronizing beautiful art and architecture in our churches.
  • For all teachers and educators, and anyone involved in adult formation this will give you a deep understanding of why a formation in beauty is an essential aspect of every Catholic education and then teach you how to pass on that formation to your students.

How are they taught?

We provide the information through 34  video presentations and detailed reading material attractively presented and which was written especially for this course. You develop your understanding through interactive online discussion groups in which students and teachers communicate, and quizzes that test understanding and allow you to ask follow up questions if you do not understand the answers. The grading is done via a series of essay questions in a mid-term and final exam. All is done in your own time and at your own pace.

What do they contain?

The courses contain both a conventional art history course, which works chronologically through the main developments in Western art from the ancient Greeks to the present day; and a course that teaches you how to connect the changing worldviews through these periods to the actual forms of the culture. You will understand why modern art looks different from ancient Greek art and why both are different to the Baroque of the 17th century. Then by extension these arguments are applied to the culture as a whole and through this the student will understand what shapes culture, what constitutes a Catholic culture and how we can re-establish a culture of beauty in the West. In not only informs people about beauty, culture and art and architecture, it also forms them so that can apprehend beauty more readily.

It explains the essential aspects of a formation in beauty, so that people grow in love for what is beautiful, become more creative and can be open to inspiration. Of special interest to many will be my most detailed description yet of the numerical basis for traditional harmony and proportion, which is in the Mathematics of Beauty course, in which the student is taken right back to those sources which shaped the tradition including Plato, Aristotle, Boethius, Augustine as well as the scriptural basis for such ideas. There is an examination of their application through the centuries by consideration of, for example, the works of Vitruvius, Alberti and Palladio in the field of architecture. Through this the student will understand the common thread that runs through all that is ordered and beautiful. He will understand how the same numerically describes patterns are reflected in time and space and run through the whole culture. We see, for example, the same numerical patterns in the rhythms for living and of our worship in the sacred liturgy; we see them too in the structure of the cosmos at all levels of scrutiny from particle physics to astrophysics; and see these patterns in traditional Western culture.