Paradise Lost, More Sublime Than Beautiful

Michelangelo, whom Vasari slyly criticized, reflected the sublime,
contrasting with the unurbane Urbino Raphael’s reflection of what’s merely beautiful,
said Edmund Burke to Joshua Reynolds, while I believe renunciating  rhyme
helped Milton sublimate the linsey-woolsey literary linen in his wordy wool.

The Hebrew word for linsey-woolsey which is outlawed by the Torah, shatnes,
describes the sort of combination that led to the loss of Milton’s paradise,
the satanically provoked link of our parents metaphysically a madness
that Milton seemed to think was an unreasonable cause of their unrhymed snake eyes.

James Hall writes in in the 5/13/22 TLS, reviewing an exhibition of painting by Raphael in London’s National Gallery:

In “The boy wonder from Urbino: A bold exhibition of the artist’s sublime and beautiful work,” TLS¸5/13/22, James Hall, Research Professor at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, reviewing an exhibition of the works of Raphael in London’s National Gallery, reports that Joshua Reynolds was informed by his friend Edmund Burke’s treatise on the sublime and the beautiful that Michelangelo represented the “sublime in painting”, beside which the “little elegancies of art” of Raphael become unworthy of notice. Describing Reynolds’s response, he writes:

He was disappointed by Raphael’s frescoes (an emerging trend, only partly due to their poor condition) and, like most modern tourists, made a beeline for the Sistine, later blaming his deafness on a chill caught during his long hours studying Michelangelo in the vast unheated chapel.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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