Beauty rests in the expression

Street Abstract (P1230601) (black and white photograph)
Street Abstract P1230601 (black and white photograph by Paul Politis), 2018
Street Abstract P1230601 (black and white photograph)
Street Abstract (P1230601) (black and white photograph by Paul Politis), 2018

“Artists are sometimes asked, “Why do you paint ugly and not beautiful things?” The questioner rarely hesitates in his judgment of what is beautiful and what is ugly. This with him is a foregone conclusion. Beauty he thinks is a settled fact. His conception also is that beauty rests in the subject, not in the expression. He should, therefore, pay high for Rembrandt’s portrait of a gentleman, and turn with disgust from a beggar by Rembrandt. Fortunately Rembrandt is old enough not to have this happen, and the two, the gentleman and the beggar, flank each other on the walls in fine places. But the lesson has not been learned. The idea still remains, that beauty rests in the subject.”

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

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