Friday, April 4, 2008
You don't delve deeply enough into the intimacies of form. You don't pursue them with sufficient love and perseverance in all their disguises and evasions. Beauty is something difficult and austere which can't be captured that way: you must bide your time, lie in wait, seize it, hug it close with all your might in order to make it yield. Form's a Proteus much more elusive and resourceful than the one in the myth--only after a long struggle can you compel it to reveal to its true aspect. Artists like you are satisfied with the first likeness it yields, or at most the second or third; that's not the way this victory is won! The victorious painter is never deceived by all those subterfuges, he perseveres until Nature's forced to show herself stark naked, in her true spirit.
Honore de Balzac, from The Unknown Masterpiece