Art for art’s sake, with no purpose, for any purpose perverts art. But art achieves a purpose which is not its own.
Writing has laws of perspective of light and shade just as painting does or music. If you are born knowing them fine. If not learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
I don’t think one can accurately measure the historical effectiveness of a poem; but one does know, of course, that books influence individuals; and individuals, although they are part of large economic and social processes, influence history. Every mass is after all made up of millions of individuals.
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.
I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting but I cannot suffering as I am do without something which is greater than I am which is my life the power to create.
There are certain things in which mediocrity is intolerable: poetry music painting public eloquence. What torture it is to hear a frigid speech being pompously declaimed or second-rate verse spoken with all a bad poet’s bombast!
I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don’t want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don’t have a soul.
A successful work of art is not one which resolves contradictions in a spurious harmony, but one which expresses the idea of harmony negatively by embodying the contradictions, pure and uncompromised, in its innermost structure.
Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.
Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty for in it are born our art our science our religion.