Joe, it’s so alive! I feel it, every inch of it! You’ve no idea, Mr. Wentworth, how Joe’s painting has changed me. I used to be such a little New Englander, afraid of life, but now—
It isn’t only what you call the “younger Frenchmen and Russians” who are learning how to paint—the modern movement has spread all over.
Of course, I don’t pretend to be an artist myself, but I have always studied and loved pictures, and when you say “learning how to paint”—
That’s exactly what it is. Learning how to paint. Learning what art is. Getting life into it instead of abstract ideas.
Art? But art is beauty! Eternal beauty. You can’t change art over night, like a fashion!
But that picture’s beautiful!
Art changes as life changes. Art has always changed. If it didn’t, why isn’t your Japanese art just like Greek art? And Greek art like the Italian?
Oh, in that way, of course. But all the great masters obey the eternal laws of beauty!
There aren’t any eternal laws of beauty! There’s only the eternal impulse to create. Every artist has to express himself in his own way. What you call the “eternal laws” are merely the particular expressions your own favorite painters happened to work out in their time. If they had lived in another time—
A master would always be a master. There’s no change possible in the vision of the soul.
You see, Mr. Wentworth, what I have learned these last two years from living among artists is that the painter with an original vision is always opposed by the schools. That is, at first. But when he wins out, then the schools merely take over his technic and use it as a club to put down the next creator. And so it goes.
Naturally, the great artist suffers hardship. But if we once admit there are no laws, where are we? Anarchy!
The laws are contained in the impulses themselves. They come with the vision, not before it! If any one thinks this modern art is just an easy way of painting—