Tag Archives: Artistic Pretensions

Marginalia, no.33

Pellerin used to read every available book on aesthetics in the hope of discovering the true theory of Beauty, for he was convinced that once he had found it he would be able to paint masterpieces.  He surrounded himself with every conceivable accessory – drawings, plaster casts, models, engravings – hunted around fretfully, blaming the weather, his nerves or his studio, going out into the street to seek inspiration, thrilling with joy when he had found it, but then abandoning the work he had begun, to dream of another which would be even finer.  Tortured by a longing for fame, wasting his days in argument, believing in countless ridiculous ideas, in systems, in critics, in the importance of the codification or the reform of art, he had reached the age of fifty without producing anything but sketches.

~ Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education

A study in poseurism.  I used to be one of those young fellows who grow a beard and go unwashed, who buy an old electric typewriter and the full oeuvres of Kerouac, Brautigan, and Camus, and try to get into the habit of smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka at midday in order take themselves more seriously.  But life in one’s thirties has its mercies.  Pre-adolescence did too:  At ten years old I walked every Thursday to my art teacher’s home after school carrying a tackle box full of pencils and brushes without the least thought for what these things said about me.  God save us from artistic accessories.

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