19 May 2009

The artist's paradise

"Has it ever struck you that posterity may not be the fair, impartial judge we like to think it is?

Suppose the artist's paradise turned out to be as nonexistent as the Catholics, and future generations prove just as misguided as the present one and persisted in liking pretty pretty dabbling better than honest to goodness painting. There are some accepted masterpieces for which I myself wouldn't give a twopenny damn.

Classical training has given us a wrong view of everything and forces us to acclaim as geniuses a lot of fellows who are no more than well-balanced, facile painters, while what we might really prefer is the work of more emancipated but less even artists known only to an initiated few. Immortality at present depends entirely on the average, middle-class mind and is reserved only for the names that have been most forcibly impressed upon us while we were still unable to defend ourselves...

Perhaps that's the sort of thing that's best left unsaid. It's certainly the sort of thing that gives me the shudders!"

- Emile Zola in L'Oeuvre

This was said in the context of painting, but I feel it also applies to film, music, fashion, in fact all forms of art.