Lawren Harris: A theosophist who painted.

Title: Lawren Harris: A theosophist who painted.
Authors: Ambler, Dawn.
Date: 2002
Abstract: Lawren Harris, the well-known Canadian painter, was also a prominent member of the International Theosophical Society. Usually his theosophical ties are considered secondary to his occupation as a painter. Most art critics and art historians who have written about him have focused on the role he played with the Group of Seven and the paintings he produced during that period, taking his abstract work as a consequence of his aesthetic evolution and linking it symbolically with his earlier landscapes. Other art historians have acknowledged that Theosophy might have influenced Lawren Harris's painting, and they attempt to read theosophical representations in the images he produced. Looking at Lawren Harris from the perspective of Religious Studies, this thesis first examines the nature of Harris's involvement with Theosophy and the tenets of Theosophy in his time. Then, on the basis of his writings (which constitute a large part of his legacy, since he left behind articles, lectures, letters, a book, exhibit reviews and an unfinished manuscript) as well as his paintings, this thesis proposes that Lawren Harris was a deeply religious man who used painting as a tool in his own quest for the sacred. This quest, informed by theosophical principles as interpreted by Lawren Harris, led him to perceive his paintings not as illustrations, not as symbols, not even as theosophical representations, but as a disciplined experience of the Divine, a spiritual practice.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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