Art, Nature, and (uh) Criticism?!?

What art IS…
Art is nothing more than a faltering and inadequate attempt to express what has been thus experienced and to give some form to its content. The work of art captures not the experience, but only what its creator has been able to express of the experience.
-Ludwig von Mises, Austrian economist
Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one consciously, by means of certain external symbols, conveys to others the feelings one has experienced, whereby people so infected by these feelings, also experience them.
-Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist

What art DOES…
The very object of an art, the principle of its artifice, is precisely to impart the impression of an ideal state in which the man who reaches it will be capable of spontaneously producing, with no effort of hesitation, a magnificent and wonderfully ordered expression of his nature and our destinies.
-Leo Tolstoy
A work of art is an attempt to experience the universe as a whole. One cannot analyze or dissect it into parts and comment on it without destroying its intrinsic character.
It is a hopeless task to interpret a symphony, a painting, or a novel. The interpreter at best tries to tell us something about his reaction to the work…. There are no words to describe the ineffable.
-Ludwig von Mises


Nature is a dictionary; one draws words from it. -Eugene Delacroix
Nature is a language, can't you read? -Steven Patrick Morrissey
An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language. -Henri Matisse
Genius is only childhood recovered at will, childhood now gifted to express itself with the faculties of manhood and with the analytic mind that allows him to give order to the heap of unwittingly hoarded material.
Le génie n'est que l'enfance retrouvée à volonté, l'enfance douée maintenant, pour s'exprimer, d'organes virils et de l'esprit analytique qui lui permet d'ordonner la somme de matériaux involontairement amassée.
-Charles Baudelaire
The artist, society man, man of crowd and child.
L'artiste, homme du monde, homme des foules et enfant.
-Charles Baudelaire
Do the things you know, and you shall learn the truth you need to know.
-Louisa May Alcott 
Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. [It is not something discovered; it is something molded.] It is to know and understand the shame and the misery of not being able to depend on oneself. ... To be a man is to feel, when setting one's stone, that one is contributing to the building of the world.
Être homme, c'est précisément être responsable. C'est connaître la honte en face d'une misère qui ne semblait pas dépendre de soi. … C'est sentir, en posant sa pierre, que l'on contribue à bâtir le monde.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
And so,
Man does not bring to God's altar the stuff of nature in itself, in its initial structure, but something he has made and molded out of nature for the nourishment and the inspiration of men.
-Wilford O. Cross
We all have different desires and needs, but if we don't discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled.
-Bill Watterson
The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn.
-Lucian Freud
A man ought to read [and write, and create!] just as inclination leads him; for [whatever he does] as a task will do him little good.
-Samuel Johnson
The artist, the true artist, the true poet, should paint only according to whether it sees and that it feels. It must be really faithful to its own nature.
L'artiste, le vrai artiste, le vrai poète, ne doit peindre que selon qu'il voit et qu'il sent. Il doit être réellement fidèle à sa propre nature.
-Charles Baudelaire
An author can have nothing truly his own but his style.
-Isaac D’Israeli
The painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen.
-Paul Klee
What you are looking for is what you are looking with >>
-Ernest Holmes.
>> YOURSELF! Brilliant! Looking for your own vision, yes….
After all, as it truly is,
Art is the path of the creator to his work.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.
-Victor Hugo
Man does not bring to God's altar the stuff of nature in itself, in its initial structure, but something he has made and molded out of nature for the nourishment and the inspiration of men.
-Wilford O. Cross
And Nature and Art have been said to be sisters… But are they mirrors of each other? Creators of each other? Which imitates which, and when?
Anyway, as such,
Painting is learned in the museums.
La peinture s'apprend dans les musées. -Auguste Renoir
The Louvre is the book in which we learn to read. -Paul Cezanne
It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work. [—well, the painters featured in that particular place knew a think or two about that…]
-Thomas A. Edison

An anecdote:
In the year 1911 the poet-playwright-art critic Guillaume Apollinaire was jailed, suspected of being involved in the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. The circumstantial evidence which pointed to Apollinaire also pointed to his friend Picasso, and he too was arrested. While Picasso was released almost immediately, Apollinaire was held in jail for almost a week, and not cleared until months later; the painting was not recovered until 1913, and not before eight forgeries had been sold to collectors.


So…if you are striving for individuality, and submitting yourself to the judgment of others, what happens if their reaction is not positive? How does a creative person deal with criticism, whether from those whom he or she knows personally or doesn’t know at all? I’m trying to do something a creative by doing this website here, and really, I can only speak for myself in regard to handling criticism, but I will say that my work itself is my only response to any criticism I have received in the past, and serves as a preemptive response to any I might receive in the future. But I will say that if I do feel anything negative when I hear something negative, it is only a case of what was described by the 19th-century German poet Friedrich Schiller, who said that “Opposition always enflames the enthusiast, never converts him”—that is, that I will get mad at myself for not having actualized my vision enough to move that person in a positive and inspiring way! What follows here are the insights of some others who have made the realizations I, too, have made in my own personal experience, and who have articulated them better than I presently could! So… Enjoy:

A Cheerful n' Hearty Perspective on Criticism!
A series of carefully arranged quotes telling you how I see it...

Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor.
-Arthur Schopenhauer
I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can't be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.
-Calvin Coolidge
In other words,
The world is moving so fast these days that people who say, “It cannot be done,” are usually interrupted by someone doing it.
-common saying
If you wanna get paid, you have to be a little strong.
And if you wanna get rich, you have to be really strong.
And if you wanna get rich and famous, the egotism of your mentality pretty much has to eclipse all care for what miscellaneous critics may say of you.
-another point from me
To be turned from one's course by men's opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation, shows a man unfit to hold an office.
-Quintus Fabius Maximus, as quoted by the Greek historian Plutarch. Quintus Fabius, the Roman soldier and statesman, was consul five times (in 233 BC, 228 BC, 215 BC, 214 BC and 209 BC), was twice dictator (in 221 and again in 217 BC), and he reached the office of censor in 230 BC.

Those who risk nothing, do nothing, achieve nothing, become nothing.
The best of all - Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. -Aristotle

Only he who does nothing makes no mistakes.
Не ошибается тот, кто ничего не делает. -Russian proverb
There is no defense against criticism except obscurity. -Joseph Addison
This miserable state is borne by the wretched souls of those who lived without disgrace and without praise.
Questo misero modo  tegnon l'anime triste di coloro  che visser sanza 'nfamia e sanza lodo. -Dante, referring to the state of those who inhabit limbo in the afterlife

The desire for self-actualization, when sufficiently strong, will overrides all outside interference. It is to have mind on one track and to stays perpetually on track.

There is nothing more dreadful to an author than neglect, compared with which reproach, hatred and opposition are names of happiness. -Samuel Johnson
I love that reaction of love or hate. It's indifference that bores me to death. -Marc Jacobs
You can't pretend that everybody likes Versace. It would be boring. It's better to create a reaction than to create no reaction. That's dangerous. -Donatella Versace
I've always thought that problem solving is highly overrated and that problem creation is far more interesting. -Chuck Close
If it’s not controversial, it can’t matter that much.
That which is not disputed, is not interesting, either.
-Friedrich Schiller
Where there is no conflict, there is no life.
-Niccolo Machiavelli
Conflict does not mean that people are killing one another; conflict means there is a process by which there is disagreement—call it “creative disagreement.”
-Eric Schmidt

In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the human kingdom, define or be defined.
-Thomas Szasz
To show resentment at a reproach is to acknowledge that one may have deserved it.
If the shoe fits, wear it…and walk it off.
-combination of two common sayings
But I mean, really,
The spit of the toad doesn't reach the white dove.
La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe. -French proverb
A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation. -Moliere
Even a lion must defend himself against the flies. -German Proverb
A bug may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is still an insect, and the other is still a horse. -Samuel Johnson

The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents. -Salvador Dali
It is always better to be envied than pitied.
ϕθονέɛσθαί κρέσσον ἐσṯὶ ἢ οἰκṯɛίρɛσθαί. (Phthonesthai kresson esti i oikteiresthai.) -Herodotus
Praestat invidiosum esse quam miserabilem. -Erasmus
Trop plus vaut estre envié que plaint. -French proverb (also in Dutch and Italian)

It is the practice of the multitude to bark at eminent men, as little dogs do at strangers.
Envy assails the noblest: the winds howl around the highest peaks.
Summa petit livor: perflant altissima venti.
High trees catch lots of wind.
-English proverb, neatly explained as: “A person with influence is often the target of criticism.”
Envy, like fire, soars upward.
Invidiam, tamquam ignem, summa petere.

It has been a fact of the human world that,
Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is true–
Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
-Jonathan Swift

Samuel Johnson put it best when he said:
“Such is the state of every age, every sex, and every condition: all have their cares, either from nature or from folly; and whoever, therefore, finds himself inclined to envy another, should remember that he knows not the real condition which he desires to obtain, but is certain that by indulging a vicious passion, he must lessen that happiness which he thinks already too sparingly bestowed.”

It has been said by both writers, artists, and comedians that a critic is someone who is a failure at that art which they criticize…but really, that is only because they have perceived themselves as failures from a certain point, and anyone who has determination and passionate, unstoppable love for what they do, will see failure as another step toward success… “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate!—or why not quadruple it? Or more?
Case in point:
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
-Thomas A. Edison
A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
-James Joyce
I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.
-Thomas A. Edison
Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged.
-Thomas A. Edison
Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.
-Edward Eggleston  (but more about this later…)


So anyway, in regard to all that jealousy and envy coming from one’s enemies (paraphrasing Tupac Shakur), all I could say is the most famous statement attributed to the renowned early-16th-century South German mercenary Georg von Frundsberg, which goes,
Many enemies—much honor.
Viel Feind, viel Ehr.
In other words—
Who fights a lot will be highly honored.
And as the note to this quotation says, “it is often used when referring to difficult non-military challenges as well.”
Rash combat oft immortalizes man; if such a fighter should fall, he will be renowned in song!
Swift battle grants a man immortal life; should he fall quickly, the songs of bards will praise him!
The rapid and fearless fight perpetuates the good name of a strong man, makes his name the synonym of honor.
Der rasche Kampf verewigt einen Mann,
Er falle gleich, so preiset ihn das Lied.
-Johnann Wolfgang von Goethe (yes, with 3 translations!)
But yes,
Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
-Samuel Johnson
A very popular error: having the courage of one's convictions—? Rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions!
-Friedrich Nietzsche
That is true! And:
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
All too often, we see that critics are cowardly; they keep themselves anonymous, faceless, nameless, so that they may be malicious or destructive with impunity.
Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity.
-Charles G. Dawes
But it hardly matters, because
Opposition always enflames the enthusiast, never converts him. 
Zang erbittert die Schwarmer immer, aber bekehrt sie nie.
-Friedrich Schiller
There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice.
-Joseph Addison
In some sense, I view criticism as a gift! A gift of someone else’s time and consideration…
I dedicate this edition to my enemies who have helped me so much in my career.
Dedico esta edición a mis enemigos, que tanto me han ayudado en mi carrera.
-José Cela Camilo
Again: Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
-Samuel Johnson
And so, I repeat that:
My work itself is my only response to any criticism I have received in the past, and serves as a preemptive response to any I might receive in the future...

In conclusion, it is as it has always been in the culture of a society:
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
-Oscar Wilde

~The Fashioniste~