Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Five Novels That Best Capture the Artistic Temperament

Really? I've not read any of these books. But I must say that I'm skeptical of any discussion of "the artistic temperament," as though it described some monolithically-present characteristic.

If all artists were like Vincent van Gogh, for example, they'd all lop off a portion of their ears and off themselves. So far, no epidemic of ear-loppings and self-offings among artists has been reported. (Not to mention many more wonderful paintings.)

And if all artists were like Michelangelo, the subject of The Agony and the Ecstasy, we would have many more sculpted masterpieces in the world.

It seems to me that there are probably as many artistic temperaments as there are artists.


Spencer Troxell said...

"Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs."
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

Pilgrim said...

Why was I expecting James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man?

Mark Daniels said...

The Chesterton quote is a classic. It seems that the people who are most self-consciously "artists" are the least worthy of being so labeled.

That's a good question. One might have expected it to be on such a list, I suppose.

And what about Dylan Thomas' 'Portrait of the Artist as A Young Dog"?