What Is an Artist?

Topics: Ashcan School, Robert Henri, John French Sloan Pages: 2 (601 words) Published: December 17, 2012
What is an Artist?
Art is a very wonderful thing. A great painting enriches our experience of life, just as a great poem does or a great musical composition, since great painters make us feel and think a great deal more than the objects before us. They teach us to appreciate the beauty and harmony of colors and light through their eyes. They share their imagination with us and invite us into an exciting world of painting. Once discovered and entered, however, this world can never be forgotten. An artist as a man apart, what is he? For example let’s take W. S. Maugham and his work “The moon and Sixpence” in which he wrote about Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker who abandoned his family and became an artist. He was concentrated on his art. He was indifferent to love, friendship and kindness. His pictures fell flat on the public and recognition came to him only after death. W. S. Maugham wrote: “An artist as a man apart is alone in his world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs. These signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. He is under an intolerable necessity to convey the treasures of his heart, but people have not the power to accept them. So he goes alone, driven to a lonely search for some goal, where he expected to find a final release from the spirit that torments him. He seems to be an eternal pilgrim to some shrine that perhaps does not exist.” An artist as a man rooted deeply in his time has a life-long effort to develop and evolve a significant vision that expresses both his feelings and those of his era in the context of timeless human experience. He is ahead of his time. He is the point-man for his society. Let me quote Don Gray and say “These extraordinary people do not, cannot, could not live by bread alone. They seek a clue, a link, an oneness with the greatness of life, nature and of man through forms and images in paint and stone as true as the...
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