Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The education of an architect

with 2 comments


Neither natural ability without instruction nor instruction without natural ability can make the perfect artist. Let him be educated, skillful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have followed the philosophers with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medicine, know the opinions of the jurists, and be acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens…

But perhaps to the inexperienced it will seem a marvel that human nature can comprehend such a great number of studies and keep them in the memory. Still, the observation that all studies have a common bond of union and intercourse with one another, will lead to the belief that this can easily be realized. For a liberal education forms, as it were, a single body made up of these members. Those, therefore, who from tender years receive instruction in the various forms of learning, recognize the same stamp on all the arts, and an intercourse between all studies, and so they more readily comprehend them all.

Vitruvius, On Architecture

Written by nevalalee

October 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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2 Responses

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  1. I agree that anyone who’s going to make an important contribution to a creative field is going to have to have had a wide-ranging education. Unfortunately, educators use quotes like this to justify imposing on children the study of subjects that don’t interest them. And I don’t think THAT’s the way to make artists. You can’t force a wide-ranging education on anyone, and you’ll only make them angry if you try. The truly well-educated are those who have had the time and opportunity to pursue all the subjects that are naturally of interest to them.

    Sharon Rawlette

    October 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

  2. That’s a fair point, and I agree that time and opportunity are the crucial factors here.


    October 26, 2013 at 8:55 am

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