the great bull with its fierce eye, its head raised, its four hooves planted on the summit, at the edge of the abyss

beethoven-1987-andy-warhol

In painting his portrait, I paint that of his stock — our century, our dream, ourselves and our companion with the bleeding feet: Joy. Not the gross joy of the soul that gorges itself in its stable, but the joy of ordeal, of pain, of battle, of suffering overcome, of victory over one’s self, the joy of destiny subdued, espoused, fecundated… And the great bull with its fierce eye, its head raised, its four hooves planted on the summit, at the edge of the abyss, whose roar is heard above the time. […]

If he cannot do this in the world of facts, he wills it in the world of art; everything becomes for him a field on which to deploy the battalions of his thoughts, his desires, his regrets, his furies, his melancholies. […]

The hammer is not all: the anvil also is necessary. Had destiny descended only upon some weakling, or on an imitation great man, and bent his back under this burden, there would have been no tragedy in it, only an everyday affair. But here destiny meets one of its own stature, who “seizes it by the throat,” who is at savage grips with it all the night till the dawn — the last dawn of all — and who, dead at last, lies with his two shoulders touching the earth, but in his death is carried victorious on his shield; one who out of his wretchedness has created a richness, out of his infirmity the magic wand that opens the rock.

~ Romain Rolland, on Beethoven’s struggle with his loss of hearing at 28 in Beethoven the Creator

 


Notes:

Comments

  1. i love the power of the last line. there is probably nothing worse than this that he could have ever imagined happening to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘…destiny meets one of its own stature…’. WOW.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow…
    “the joy of destiny subdued,
    espoused, fecundated…”

    Big sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! Very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “The hammer is not all: the anvil also is necessary.” This line grabbed me. Seems that oftentimes it’s having something to react to or push against that elicits greatness. Things can’t come too easily.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Out of adversity, a magic wand…brilliant perspective. We hear his works, and sometimes forget. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this is powerful!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wonder if Beethoven could still hear the music in his head or if he made up the music more by the mathematics of the keys (the music scales), knowing what would sound good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such strength of character and will. I love how powerful the words are that reflects this.

    Liked by 1 person

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