The Price of Art
The Price of Art
“Art is unthinkable without risk and spiritual self-sacrifice.”
-Boris Pasternak (d. 1960)
Well, it seems to me that there is a lot of what is offered as “art” that has not been born of risk and self-sacrifice.
Let’s assume that Pasternak, Russian writer (Dr. Zhivago) and poet, means the best art, the true art. He certainly can include his own writing. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for literature, which he rejected, probably out of fear of serious reprisal by the Communist regime and loss of citizenship if he left his country to receive it. Risk and spiritual self-sacrifice shine throughout his varied and creative life.
For me, the appreciation of art is without exception enhanced when I know something about the nature of the person who produced it. Art is always a production of the soul, of the lived life of the artist, no matter what he paints, no matter what she sculpts. It shines forth in every detail. The challenge—and it’s a worthy challenge indeed—is to see it.
Look into the lives of artists and to whose work you are attracted. Do you like van Gogh’s work? You have an amazing tale to learn. Are you attracted to Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings? What a ride she had! How about the sculptor Rodin? Or Michelangelo? To enter the tales and details of their lives is to personalize their work and to embrace it anew.
Or what about the guy down the street who paints on weekends? He is as capable of risk and self-sacrifice as anyone. Look for it. Or your child’s art teacher who spends most of her time teaching and only the hours she can afford to her beloved painting? Her risks and sacrifice might be astounding, unimaginable. She might embody Pasternak’s words and deem “unthinkable” anything that did not expose her soul and risk, among other things, rejection and ridicule. Watch for it.
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