Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1905 (Heft 9)

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SEBASTIAN MELMOTH.— EXTRACTS.
ANYBODY CAN sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it
requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.
Love art for its own sake and then all things that you need will be
added to you. This devotion to beauty and to the creation of beautiful
things is the test of all great civilizations; it is what makes the life of each
citizen a sacrament and not a speculation.
It has often been made a subject of reproach against artists and men of
letters that they are lacking in wholeness and completeness of nature. As
a rule this must necessarily be so. That very concentration of vision and
inversity of purpose which is the characteristic of the artistic temperament
is in itself a mode of limitation. To those who are preoccupied with the
beauty of form nothing else seems of so much importance.
No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.
The longer I live the more keenly I feel that whatever was good
enough for our fathers is not good enough for us. In art, as in politics,
“les grandpères ont toujours tort.”
The object of art is not simple truth but complex beauty. Art itself
is really a form of exaggeration, and selection, which is the very spirit of
art, is nothing more than an intensified mode of overemphasis.
When art is more varied nature will, no doubt, be more varied also.
The proper school to learn art in is not life but art.
No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be
proved.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.
To me the word “natural” means all that is middle class, all that is of
the essence of Jingoism, all that is colorless and without form, and void.
It might be a beautiful word, but it is the most debased coin in the currency
of language.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.
An echo is often more beautiful than the voice it repeats.

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