To define is to limit.

Wilde is piously intent in killing whatever remains of my soul, because he says to know an essence, you must stifle it: he wants me to yearn for my soul. Its value depends on how much exertion it takes to destroy it. André Gide about Wilde, in a letter to Valéry from 1891. Wilde was…

Anke Pie and other thoughts.

Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing…

A Weary Hour

“Consciousness of self was an inherent function of matter once it was organized as life, and if that function was enhanced it turned against the organism that bore it, strove to fathom and explain the very phenomenon that produced it, a hope-filled and hopeless striving of life to comprehend itself, as if nature were rummaging…

The Solitary One in Autumn

“But it’s peculiar, as soon as I am in the midst of nature and by myself, everything that is base and trivial vanishes without trace. On such days nothing scares me; and this helps me again and again.” Thomas Mann said of Mahler: ‘the man who, as I believe, expresses the art of our time in…

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

From the preface of da Vinci’s Thoughts on Art and Life by Lewis Einstein: The genius of Leonardo as a painter came through unfolding the mystery of life. Like Miranda, he had gazed with wonder at the beauty of the world. “Look at the grace and sweetness of men and women in the street,” he wrote….