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Artists Love Of Their Own Work

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

The story of Pygmalion who fell in love with his own statue of Galatea is merely an artistic embodiment of the conception of the naturally emotive susceptibility of the true artist. It is doubtful if one of these ever lived who lacked the tendency developed in the tale. It is doubtful if one without the capacity for falling thoroughly in love with his own product could ever be an artist. God made men, as we are told, in His own image, and the highest manliness results when His spirit becomes incarnated in them. So the artist forms art in his own image; his works reflect his thought or feeling; and the highest excellence follows only in the degree in which his soul has found complete embodiment in them.—Idem, XIII.


The highest result, as art is, of human intelligence and skill, it cannot be produced when only part of the highest possibilities of manhood are engaged upon it. It needs all the resources that a man can command, as well as all the facility that he can acquire through the education that enables him to command them.—Idem, XV.


Every art is developed by making a study of methods natural to exceptional men who, because they take to them naturally, do not need to cultivate them. Essay on Art and Logical Form.


Who does not acknowledge that one characteristic of all great artists, especially of those who are leaders in their arts, is the faithful study that they give to nature. We may not admire the social customs of ancient Greece that allowed its sculptors frequent opportunities to observe the unclothed forms of both the sexes; we may shrink from believing the story of a Guido murdering his model in order to prepare for a picture of the crucifixion; or of a David coolly sketching the faces of his own friends when put to death amid the horrors of the French Revolution; yet, in all these cases, there is an artistic lesson accompanying the moral warning. It was not in vain that Moorland's easel was constantly surrounded by representatives of the lower classes; that Hogarth always had his pencil with him on the streets and in the coffee-houses; or that, morning after morning, Corot's canvas caught its colors long before the eastern sky grew bright with sunlight. Or, if we turn to literature, it is not an insignificant fact that Shakespeare and his contemporaries, who gave form to the modern drama, as well as Goethe, who records in his Wahrheit und Dichtung the way in which he spent his youth in Frankfort and his age in Weimar, were for years the associates both of the audiences and actors in city theatres; or that Fielding, who gave form to the modern novel, was the justice of a police court. High art is distinctively a form of nature—a form that is this in the sense of being perceptible in nature, or at least directly suggested by it: Art in Theory, II.


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