Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Rising above sensation

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Potrait of Konrad Fiedler by Hans Thoma

It is a chief requirement of artistic talent that it shall possess an especially refined and sensitive susceptibility to certain qualities of things…But the presence of such refined feelings is not yet an indication of artistic talent. To possess such feelings is the main prerequisite for artistic as well as for every other mental productiveness; for he who does not seek to grasp nature with the power of his intuition will never succeed in subjugating her to his higher mental consciousness. But the artist becomes an artist by virtue of his ability to rise above his sensations. It is true that sensation accompanies him in all the phases of his artistic activity and keeps him continuously in a close relationship to all things, that it nourishes in him the warmth of life by which he himself is connected with the world. Sensation continuously provides him with the material the transformation of which is the fulfillment of his mental existence. Yet however heightened his sensations may be, he must always be able to master them with the clarity of his mind. And although the artist’s creation is possible only on the basis of an extraordinarily intense feeling, nevertheless this artistic creation has been made possible by his still more extraordinary power of mind, which even in moments of the most intense sensory experience preserves unimpaired the calmness of objective interest and the energy of formative creation.

Konrad Fiedler, “On Judging Works of Visual Art”

Written by nevalalee

June 4, 2016 at 7:30 am

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