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as little a plaything

May 24, 2010

“Vision and intelligence are co-implicative, neither is possible without the other, and all growth involves their interaction. This general principle furnishes us with the clue to esthetic education. We perceive only what we have learned to look for, both in life and in art .  .  . to appreciate [a] painting .  .  . we must reconstruct [the artist’s] experience, so far as we are able, in ourselves. .  .  . To see as the artist sees is an accomplishment to which there is no short cut, which cannot be acquired by any magic formula or trick; it requires not only the best energies of which we are capable, but a methodical direction of those energies, based upon scientific understanding of the meaning of art and its relation to human nature. The artist illuminates the objective world for us, exactly as does the scientist, different as the terms are in which he envisages it; art is as little a plaything, a matter of caprice or uncontrolled subjectivity as is physics or chemistry.”

Albert Coombs Barnes
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