the love of truth

Art is the love of truth, as well as the love of  falsehood; of truth in that it relies on finding the right relationship  between things, of falsehood in that it always leads to an artificial result. But, in order for this fiction to be worthy of consideration, the one who created it must be animated by a great love of truth.

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The love of truth pushed to the extreme in art denies truth and destroys it. There is thus a mysterious limit that the mind must reach, but not exceed.

simplicity

Between a so-called beautiful calendar and a masterpiece of simplicity a peasant would not hesitate. He would pick the calendar. Everything complicated seems richer and dazzles him. Simplicity and restraint address more developed minds, minds that can distinguish these qualities from poverty, which, in its turn, needs even more highly developed minds in order to understand and love it.

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Nature is complicated. Such a tangle of lines, forms and colours.
And yet, as it is true, it corresponds to the simplicity of the spirit.

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Today artists are richer and art poorer than ever before: asceticism has been turned inside-out.

nature is nature, not poetry

Nature is nature, not poetry. It is the reaction of nature upon the disposition of certain individuals that produces poetry. The fruits that nature provides are not those of an orchestra.

plagiarism

Our admiration for poetry diminishes if we despise too many poets. For poetry is written by poets. And those who claim to love poetry are often only capable of plagiarizing this or that poet.

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A little tact causes promiscuity to flee. What binds us to another must be sacrificed. We must however patiently tolerate those parasites that no degree of hygiene can eliminate.

***

Of course, all artists of note are already influenced or susceptible to being so, even the greatest. Influenced by what they love and even, in reaction, by what they detest. But, between conscious influences, which are acceptable as they depend on the free and fatal play of our faculties, and plagiarism, the difference is as vast as between expanding one’s knowledge by reading a book and stealing a book from someone’s personal library in order to sell it. Thus, influence appears to depend upon the artist’s temperament and plagiarism upon an individual’s incivility. The one involves talent alone, the other integrity.

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Conceited are those who never admit what they owe to others and blind those who do not see what they have taken from others.  It is necessary to acknowledge that we, ourselves, owe others and should only complain about blatant theft. Though a debt must be repaid, rarely does a thief have the will or ability to do so.

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Plagiarism occurs when uninspired; influence happens unconsciously, by channeling, it is not dishonest.

criticism

A review can be critical, but kind. In fact it should always be. It is all the kinder for being critical. Because it is for the author’s benefit that someone desires to tell him what is wrong with his work.

Any author who gets annoyed by a review that provides such is not worthy of the name. While a critic who is able to provide such a critique is worthy of our love. For he fulfills, with the greatest liberty, the duty of one’s best friend.

I am well aware that self-satisfaction blinds authors, that pride and pretentiousness twist their minds. But, from time to time, one can be found who is strong enough and close enough to reality to always agree with those who criticize him, and only rarely with those who praise him.

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A work is not worthwhile due to the amount of conscience that its author has brought to it. Conscience alone cannot save a work of art, but a lack of conscience is the loss of a critic and of a critique.

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Without the strength of judgment and assurance provided by conscience, one must depend, to make decisions, on one’s conceit and pretentiousness. Then instead of a thorough and fair critic, one will have a rather foolish conceited one.