And Not Be Thwarted By Its Stubbornness

September 19th, 2004 · 1 Comment · Artists, Education, Writing

Hegel’s Holiday, René Magritte, 1957

What Hegel has to say about skill and its relationship to natural talent in the artist:

“We need only to lay down as essential the view that, though the artist’s talent and genius contains a natural element, yet it is essentially in need of cultivation by though, and of reflection on the mode in which it produces, as well as of practice and skill in producing. A main feature of such production is unquestionably external workmanship, inasmuch as the work of art has a purely technical side, which extends into the region of handicraft; most especially in architecture and sculpture, less so in painting and music, least of all in poetry. Skill in this comes not by inspiration, but solely by reflection, industry, and practice; and such skill is indispensable to the artist, in order that he may master his external material, and not be thwarted by its stubbornness.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Category: Artists · Education · Writing

One Comment so far ↓

  • Leonard Bast

    Hear hear! I’m suspicious of all arguments that give too much weight to “genius” in art. Everyone has “genius” in one form or another. But not everyone has the training and discipline to be an artist. There may be cases in which a work of art shows nothing but pure, “natural” talent (or pure inspiration) but nothing else. But such works are very rare. Even those Romantic poets who raved about inspiration in an almost Platonic way still plugged away at their versification and revised their work.

Leave a Comment