domingo, 26 de octubre de 2008

On art and artists

"There really is not such thing as Art. There are only artists. Once these were men who took coloured earth and roughed out the forms of a bison on the wall of a cave; today some buy their paints, and design posters for hoardings; they did and do man other things. There is no harm in calling these activities art as long as we keep in mind that such a word may mean very different things in different times and places, and as long as we realize that Art with capital A has no existence. For Art with capital A has come to be something of a bogey and a fetish.


Actually I do not think that there are any wrong reasons for liking a satatue or a picture. Someone may like a landscape painting because it remainds him of home, or a portrait because it reminds him of a friend. There is nothing wrong with that. All of us, when we see a painting, are bound to be reminded of a hundred-and-one things which influence our likes and dislikes. As long as these memories help us to enjoy what we see, we need not to worry. It is only when some irrelevan memory makes us prejudiced, when we instinctively turn away from a magnificent piceture of an alpine scene because we dislike climbing, that we should search our mind for the reason for the aversion which spoils a pleasure we might otherwise have had. There are wrong reasons for disliking a work of art.


There is no greater obstacle to the enjoyment of great works of art than our unwillingness to discard habits and prejudices. A painting which represents a familiar subject in an unexpected way is often condemned for no better reason than that it does not seem right.


One never finishes learning about art. There are always new things to discover. Great works of art seem to look different every time one stands before them. They seem to be as inexhaustible and unpredictable as real human beings. It is and exiting world of its own with its own strange laws and its own adventures."

E. H. Gombrich: The Story of Art. P 21-33.
New York: Phaidon Press
Pocket Edition, 2006.

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