Heslam  concluded his analysis of Kuyper’s Calvinism and Art lecture by underlining Kuyper’s main concern, which was to challenge prejudice against Calvinism in matters of Art . Why addressing Calvinism and Art have become important? What drove the need of Kuyper’s defense of Calvinism as a distinctive Life-System, and his possible reason to include Art as one of examples given? The need to address the prejudice that perceived Calvinism and Art as mutually incompatible does exist; as Kuyper’s argument must be understood in the context of the late 18th to the 19th century Europe. To build better understanding of Kuyper’s emphasis, historical contexts of the late 18th to the 19th century Europe must be provided in philosophy, art movement, and theology. In the late 18th to the 19th century Europe discourses regarding Art and Aesthetics rose within Art movements, and were represented by the rise of Romanticism and Realism in rejection to Neoclassicism . From its philosophical constellation, the continuation of rationalists and empiricists’ debate were represented through schools of thought such as British Empiricism, Romanticism, German Idealism, Positivism, Existentialism, and Transcendentalism . From its theological landscape, the post-Enlightment theological response to Kant in Schleiermacher’s On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers attempted a redefinition of the essence of religion in responding to Romanticism .
1. The focus upon Arts and Aesthetics not as an independent and/or alternative access to ultimate reality and independent construction of human beliefs but as partial response in analogy to the ultimate reality and in articulating such belief.
2. Art and Aesthetics as inseparably religious universal phenomenon that represents lower stage of religious reality.
“Art also is no side-shoot on a principal branch, but an independent branch that grows from the trunk of our life itself, even though it is far more nearly allied to Religion than to our thinking or to our ethical being.” -Lectures on Calvinism p.150
“Thus also no unity in the revelation of art is conceivable, except by the art-inspiration of an Eternal Beautiful, which flows from the fountain of the Infinite. Hence no characteristic all-embracing art-style can arise except as a consequence of the peculiar impulse from the Infinite that operates in our inmost being. And since this is the very privilege of Religion, over intellect, morality and art, that she alone effects the communion with the Infinite, in our self-consciousness, the call for a secular, all-embracing art-style, independent of any religious principle, is simply absurd.” -Lectures on Calvinism p.151
3. Art and Aesthetics simultaneously presents objective reality and able to transcends analogically to metaphysical reality.
“...the forms and relations exhibited by nature are and ever must remain the fundamental forms and relations of all actual reality, and an art which does not watch the forms and motions of nature nor listen to its sounds, but arbitrarily likes to hover over it, deteriorates into a wild play of fantasy. But on the other hand, all idealistic interpretation of art should be justified in opposition to the purely empirical, as often as the empirical confines its task to mere imitation.” -Lectures on Calvinism p.154
”The divine world became more human and immediate, and the beautiful, although it still preserved its former transcendental nature , acquired a new character that allowed it to be equated with art.”
4. Art and Aesthetics in common grace and sphere sovereignty as instrument of worldview which is held in tension with epistemological antithesis.