Art In The Goldfinch

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Within Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, art is represented as the key link between characters, transcending both time and space. Throughout the novel, characters are connected to one another from their connection to the titular artwork. Within The Goldfinch, art is shown to be immortal, and stands in stark opposition to the centrality and permanence of death.
In Toby Foshay’s Wyndham Lewis and the Avant-Garde: The Politics of the Intellect, the permanence of art, and its contrast to death is explored. Foshay uses the novel Tarr to exemplify and expand upon this viewpoint in which, “Death differentiates art and life. Art is identical with the idea of permanence. Art is continuity” (Foshay, 74). Because art lasts, it remains permanent in a way life does not. While life brings impermanence, art supplies “permanence and… stability” (74). For Theo, the painting of The Goldfinch represents the only constant in his life, and the final connecting point between he and his mother. Carel Fabritius’ painting The Goldfinch makes its first appearance in the final
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The Goldfinch, serving as a final link between Theo and his mother, and representative of his last moments with her, still remains so important to Theo because of the connection to his mother. While he disdains the life and its fleetingness, it is from the life of his mother that he gains such a high appreciation for art. Within Sarah Nicole Prickett’s “Style is Fate,” a literary criticism of The Goldfinch for The New Inquiry, Prickett asserts, “The Goldfinch is a brace against the void.” It is interesting to consider how the Tartt herself employs one of the main themes of the novel in the creation of her work. Within The Goldfinch, art is a brace against the abyss, and yet The Goldfinch, a piece of artwork itself, also serves this purpose, as a brace against the
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