21 October 2013

The Dribbling of an Idiot

Haldane Macfall (1860-1928), The Splendid Wayfaring (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1913), pp. 86-87:
It is the stupendous function of Art to reveal its age to the soul of man through the senses — a prodigious and eagle flight next to the adventure of life itself. What methods we employ matter nothing, so that the artist convey the compelling impression. But to go back to the vision of children or the utterance of the infancy of the world is but the dribbling of an idiot. He who would utter the vast and complex life of our age cannot do so on outworn instruments or by affecting the chatter of childhood. Equally certainly he will not do so by straining the function of one sense to utter the function of another. To give to Art the intention of science, and to essay adventures in geometry, cubes, pyramids, and the like, is to bemuddle Art with science; and however much science may gain, Art will not be created -- the senses will know no communion of the impressions aroused by life. 
Pablo Picasso, Dribbling Idiot with a Mandolin (1910)

A related post: The Genesis of Modernism