‘Abdu’l-Bahá said...: “All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When this light shines through the mind of a musician, it manifests itself in beautiful harmonies. Again, shining through the mind of a poet, it is seen in fine poetry and poetic prose. When the Light of the Sun of Truth inspires the mind of a painter, he produces marvellous pictures. These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.”
(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 167)
All the existing arts and sciences were once hidden secrets of nature. By his command and control of nature man took them out of the plane of the invisible and revealed them in the plane of visibility, whereas according to the exigencies of nature these secrets should have remained latent and concealed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 81)
Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being, and are conducive to its exaltation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 26)
As to your question about an artist’s executing a “painting which is a contemporary illumination of a passage of the Holy Writings", the House of Justice feels artists should not be inhibited by Bahá’í institutions from creating a variety of calligraphic renderings of the Holy Writings or of the Greatest Name. However, such efforts should be in good taste and not assume forms that lend themselves to ridicule. Regarding the commonly used symbol of the Greatest Name, the House of Justice advises that great care be given to the accurate representation of the Persian calligraphy, since any deviation from an accepted representation can be distressing to Iranian believers.
(Universal House of Justice, The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith)
In all their efforts to achieve the aim of the Four Year Plan, the friends are also asked to give greater attention to the use of the arts, not only for proclamation, but also for the work in expansion and consolidation. The graphic and performing arts and literature have played, and can play, a major role in extending the influence of the Cause. At the level of folk art, this possibility can be pursued in every part of the world, whether it be in villages, towns or cities. Shoghi Effendi held high hopes for the arts as a means for attracting attention to the Teachings. A letter written on his behalf to an individual thus conveys the Guardian’s view: “The day will come when the Cause will spread like wildfire when its spirit and teachings will be presented on the stage or in art and literature as a whole. Art can better awaken such noble sentiments than cold rationalizing, especially among the mass of the people.”
(Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, 21 April 1996)
In much of the region, insufficient attention has been given to the education of children. Far more extensive programmes should be initiated in those countries where the need exists, to ensure that Bahá’í children are nurtured, encouraged to acquire trained minds, illumined with a sound knowledge of the Divine Teachings, well- equipped to participate in the work of the Cause at all levels and to contribute to the arts, crafts and sciences necessary for the advancement of civilization. Such programmes, when open to all children, Bahá’í or not, offer a potent means of extending the beneficial influences of Bahá’u’lláh’s Message to the wider society.
(Universal House of Justice to the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Australasia, 21 April 1996)
It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony, and perfection. For instance: a beautiful house, a well designed garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful motion, a well written book, pleasing garments—in fact, all things that have in themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and spirit—therefore, it is most certain that a true voice causes deep pleasure.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca, pp. 11-14)
Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance, decency and clean-mindedness, involves no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations. It demands daily vigilance in the control of one’s carnal desires and corrupt inclinations.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 364)
The acquisition of sciences and the perfection of arts are considered acts of worship….
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 144)
The drama is of the utmost importance.” said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “It has been a great educational power in the past; it will be so again. He described how as a young boy he witnessed the Mystery Play of ‘Ali’s Betrayal and Passion, and how it affected him so deeply that he wept and could not sleep for many nights.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 93)
The sciences and arts, all inventions, crafts, trades and their products have come forth from the intellect of man. It is evident that within the human organism the intellect occupies the supreme station. Therefore, if religious belief, principle or creed is not in accordance with the intellect and the power of reason, it is surely superstition.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 63)
What is music? It is a combination of harmonious sounds. What is poetry? It is a symmetrical collection of words. Therefore, they are pleasing through harmony and rhythm. Poetry is much more effective and complete than prose. It stirs more deeply, for it is of a finer composition.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá A Brief Account of My Visit to Accá, p. 11-14)