Millet: Proponent of Autodidacticism

October 25th, 2004 · No Comments · Education, Writing

With all these educational questions buzzing, I was particularly interested in this passage I read today from Millet:

“It is a mistake to believe that there are rules of art, already discovered and established for the use of people wishing to make art. Anyone who can see nature for himself, and who can receive the impressions from it, will not learn from anyone else the means of communicating them to other people: that which he feels for himself alone determines expression. You can’t give a dog a nose: you can merely train it to use the one it has. This is all that education can do. The example of strong individuals, whatever they have done, and however different they may appear from each other, proves that nobody can fail to obey this law of order; and naturally, for without order expression cannot emerge, as things only have value in accordance with the place they occupy. Strong individuals differ only in the final character of their work; they would all teach the same principles. To be frankly Peter or Paul, that is originality. One can teach someone the material side of art, but only up to a certain point: he will be able to repeat, to a greater or lesser degree, what others have said before him, but he will never walk out on his own until he learns to see with his own eyes.” -Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875) on Truth in Painting

Category: Education · Writing

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