Sunday Morning

Wassily Kandinsky wrote that “Cézanne made a living thing out of a teacup, or rather in a teacup he realized the existence of something alive. He raised still life to such a point that it ceased to be inanimate. He painted these things as he painted human beings, because he was endowed with the gift of divining the inner life in everything. . . . A man, a tree, an apple, all were used by Cézanne in the creation of something that is called a ‘picture,’ and which is a piece of true inward and artistic harmony.” The artist or writer does not impose harmony on reality but—with sufficient reverence and diligence and selflessness and solitude—uncovers the harmony that is always there but that we conceal from ourselves out of a preference for material comfort and fear of the consequences a full and unreserved embrace of harmony requires.

This faith in the underlying harmony roots itself in a love of and appreciation for nature, because nature, no matter how extreme the human abuse heaped on her, embodies a quiet, continual knitting and healing of life, ever dependent on death to make herself anew. “Art is a harmony parallel to nature,” Cézanne wrote—not identical with but parallel to nature. Art of any kind, undertaken with attention and focus and as part of a commitment to discipline, is an effort at reenactment of the original creative gesture—the precipitation of the universe at the moment of its creation. That, I believe, is why we sing, paint, dance, sculpt, write; that is why any one of us sets out to create something from nothing, and why the creative impulse is essentially religious or, if you prefer, spiritual. We seek to recreate the original creative gesture, whatever or whoever set it in motion—the bringing into being of what is. We seek the center of beauty.”

 — Fenton Johnson, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020)


Notes: Paul Cezanne’s “Fruit and Jug on a Table (1890-1894)

Comments

  1. What an I retesting way to look at creativity.: “Art of any kind, undertaken with attention and focus and as part of a commitment to discipline, is an effort at reenactment of the original.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘We seek to recreate the original creative gesture’
    Yes I think we really do. Beautiful. 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. every attempt is feeble in the comparison, but we have our moments when we can recreate a glimmer

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting and deeply stated.
    Many years ago I worked downtown selling one-of-a-kind fine jewelry pieces in the lobby of a hotel just off of Michigan Ave. And one day this beautiful older woman of color asked if I was the artist. I told her I wasn’t, that he’s rarely in Chicago and I can plan for her to meet him. I also said that I was not an artist of any kind. She leaned over the counter and said, “everybody is!” I said I’m really not an artist in anyway, not a painter, not a writer, not a photographer…”
    She leaned over closer and whispered something in my ear that I will remember all my life.

    I remembered this woman a few days ago in a class I’m taking with the University of Glasgow on Humanitarian Interpreting. One of last week’s live discussions was, ” is interpreting a mechanical act, or an art, and why?”

    That woman convinced me 10 years ago that one can do anything artistically. That one can live an artistic way in any aspect of their lives. You can walk into a room full of people and it won’t be long before you find out the ones that have allowed themselves to achieve that state of being.

    Thank you for posting, stealing for this week’s discussion.

    Ps. YOU, DK, are an artist!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wonderful, and yes! You may also enjoy John Paul II’s Letter to Artists.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Creativity is a light in our existence!! … We seek to recreate the original creative gesture, whatever or whoever set it in motion – the bringing into being of what is. We seek the center of beauty.”
    Fenton Johnson, At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life (W. W. Norton & Company, March 10, 2020).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael Zahaby says:

    Amen brother. I so prefer these old masters over Andy Warhol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think his best known citation still is:
    With an apple I will astonish Paris.
    Nearly any of his paintings would look good with that quote underneath it.

    (He wrote it in French….)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love Cezanne and the inspiration here David! I’m exploring creativity as a part of the spiritual path right now with ready Matthew Fox and Mark Nepo’s “Drinking from the River of Light”. Keep finding inspiration and embrace the artist you are 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The impressionists stand apart from trends. Their exploration of visual language will be understood a thousand years hence. That is if humanity survives and retains its nature.

    Liked by 1 person

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