No thing is beautiful

Other World #3 (colour photograph by Paul Politis), 2020
Other World #3 (colour photograph by Paul Politis), 2020

“The real study of an art student is more of a development of that sensitive nature and appreciative imagination with which he was so fully endowed when a child, and which, unfortunately in almost all cases, the contact with the grown-ups shames out of him before he has passed into what is understood as real life.

Persons and things are whatever we imagine them to be.

We have little interest in the material person or the material thing. All our valuation of them is based on the sensations their presence and existence arouse in us.

And when we study the subject of our pleasure it is to select and seize the salient characteristics which have been the cause of our emotion.

Thus two individuals looking at the same objects may both exclaim “Beautiful!” — both be right, and yet each have a different sensation — each seeing different characteristics as the salient ones, according to the prejudice of their sensations.

Beauty is no material thing.

Beauty cannot be copied.

Beauty is the sensation of pleasure on the mind of the seer.

No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.

The art student that should be, and is so rare, is the one whose life is spent in the love and the culture of his personal sensations, the cherishing of his emotions, never undervaluing them, the pleasure of exclaiming them to others, and an eager search for their clearest expression.”

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The great artist has not reproduced nature, but has expressed by his extract the most choice sensation it has made upon him.

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An artist must have imagination.

An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.

No material thing is beautiful.

All is as beautiful as we think it.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

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