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Selected Books by
Frithjof Schuon

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A Resource On Frithjof Schuon's Life & Teachings
• Information about his Art
• Paintings of the American Indian World
• Sketches of the American Indian World
• Sketches of the Oriental World
• Art of the Islamic World
• Paintings of the Eternal Feminine
• Online Archive about Schuon’s Artwork
• French Books with Schuon’s Artwork
Information about his Art

“On the Paintings of Frithjof Schuon”

Adapted from Michael Pollack’s “Introduction” to Images of Primordial and Mystic Beauty (Abodes, 1992)

Frithjof Schuon is not a painter who is interested in metaphysics; he is a metaphysician who from time to time produces a painting. This distinction is essential because his fundamental vocation is the perennial wisdom as it is expressed in his written works, whereas his art appears rather as an expression of the aesthetic, psychological or moral dimension of the Philosophia Perennis. In other words, Schuon is interested not only in metaphysical principles, but also—by way of consequence—in their cosmic and human radiation; which means, not that he sets out to represent a particular archetype or to utilize a specific symbolism in a painting—which in fact he does not—but simply that his spiritual insight, or let us say his contemplative mind, spontaneously manifests itself in his artistic productions.

The main subjects of Schuon's art are, on the one hand, the Plains Indian world, and on the other hand the mystery of cosmic and human femininity; Goethe's "Eternal Feminine" (das Ewig-Weibliche) or the Hindu Shakti. His choice of this first subject has its roots in his affinity with the fascinating world of Red Indian heroism and mysticism; the choice of the second subject of his art—sacred femininity—has its roots in metaphysics and cosmology; one could also say, in a more relative sense, in Schuon's affinity with Hinduism.

It is essential to understand that Schuon is never interested in originality and innovation; he is fascinated by the subject matter alone, its origin being what he observed among the Indians or an inner vision of spiritual realities. As for style, Schuon applies the general rules of traditional pictorial art, the first principle being that a painting must take into account the flatness and immobility of the surface; it should not represent three-dimensional space nor a too accidental and hence fragmentary movement. Schuon likes to repeat his subjects, a tendency that derives from his interest or fascination with them; it would be missing the point to reproach the painter for this kind of "monotony," since it is a characteristic of all traditional art to repeat certain central motifs—it does this in order to unfold their full potentialities.

In this collection [i.e. Images of Primordial and Mystic Beauty] are images of the White Buffalo Cow Woman who brought the Sacred Pipe to the Lakota Indians; we may add that the headdresses she wears in some of Schuon's paintings, or other details, have a symbolic import and do not mean that the heavenly person actually appeared in that way.

* * *

When the question was broached of publishing a comprehensive collection of Schuon's paintings, he at first was rather reluctant because he was concerned that such a publication might detract from the image of his intellectual and spiritual identity; for, let us repeat, the main accent of his message is spiritual and not artistic. However, because Schuon's art also contains in its way a spiritual message—since his doctrinal message finds a spiritually transparent expression in his art—he granted permission. The result was the 1993 publication of Images of Primordial and Mystic Beauty.

* * *

Let us repeat that the fundamental meaning of Schuon's artistic message is the presence of the sacred in every beauty. As Schuon writes: "What I seek to express in my paintings—and indeed I cannot express anything other—is the Sacred combined with Beauty. Thus, spiritual attitudes and virtues of soul. And the vibration that emanates from the paintings must lead inward." As Plato taught:

"Beauty is the splendor of Truth."

Paintings of the American Indian World 19 pieces of artwork
 Click on any painting for larger size & slide show   

The Feathered Sun

Apparition of the Buffalo Calf Maiden

Sketches of the American Indian World 8 pieces of artwork
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American Indian Sketch - 1

Portrait of Tecumseh

Sketches of the Oriental World 8 pieces of artwork
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Sketch of Two Mandarins - 1

Sketch titled "Milarepa" (the Buddhist sage of Tibet)

Art of the Islamic World 6 pieces of artwork
 Click on any painting for larger size & slide show   

Sketch of a disciple of Shaykh al-‘Alawî

Laylat al-Qadr

Paintings of the Eternal Feminine 8 pieces of artwork
 Click on any painting for larger size & slide show   

Study of Virgin with Child - 1

Virgin with Child - center panel

Online Archive about Schuon’s Artwork Holdings: 6 Articles    
 TitleSourceSubjectHTMLPDFExternal Link
Barbara Perry first wrote “Frithjof Schuon: Metaphysician and Artist” for the catalog of an exhibition of Schuon’s paintings entitled “Scenes of Plains Indian Life” at the Taylor Museum on Colorado Springs, CO. The exhibit ran from January 24, 1981 through March 8, 1981. In 1990 the article was revised to appear as the “Foreword” to The Feathered Sun (World Wisdom) and then subsequently revised in 2006 as the “Introduction” to Art from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West (World Wisdom).
"Frithjof Schuon: Metaphysician and Artist" by Barbara PerryThe Feathered Sun: Plains Indians in Art and Philosophy Multiple
This is the text from the catalog that accompanied an exhibit of Frithjof Schuon's artwork titled “Scenes of Plains Indian Life” at the Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs, CO. The exhibit ran from January 24, 1981 through March 8, 1981. This text, written by Barbara Perry, was later revised to appear as the “Foreword” to Schuon's book The Feathered Sun and subsequently revised in 2006 as the “Introduction” to an illustrated collection of Schuon's writings on art titled Art from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West.
"Frithjof Schuon: Scenes of Plains Indian Life" by Barbara Perrycatalog from exhibit of Schuon's art, Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs, early 1981 Multiple
Frithjof Schuon was also a noted artist whose paintings and sketches reflected his concern with the spiritual vocation of man, Beauty, virtue, and the reality of creation as a mirror of God. This chapter (number 18) from Michael Oren Fitzgerald's book Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy covers how Schuon was led to create his works of art, his choice of subjects, and his sense of aesthetics, and includes some reproductions of his sketches and paintnings.
"An Artistic Dimension" by Michael FitzgeraldFrithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy - Chapter 18 Multiple
Taken from Michael Pollack's "Introduction" to Schuon's book of paintings, Images of Primordial and Mystic Beauty, this piece provides the reader with important insights into Schuon's methods and subjects as seen in his paintings.
"On the Paintings of Frithjof Schuon" by Michael PollackImages of Primordial and Mystic Beauty: Paintings by Frithjof Schuon Multiple
"The Foreword to 'Art from the Sacred to the Profane" by Keith CritchlowArt from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West, ed. Catherine Schuon (2007) Multiple
"The Preface to 'Art from the Sacred to the Profane' " by Catherine SchuonArt from the Sacred to the Profane: East and West, ed. Catherine Schuon (2007) Multiple
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English Books with Schuon’s Artwork Holdings: 5 Books


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