A Master at Work

Certain artists, whatever genius they make manifest on the canvas, are hopelessly inarticulate about their own work. Not Delacroix, who wrote constantly about technique and his creative process in his Journal, a mammoth contribution to art history. In his notes he also mused widely on his personal life and travels, his hopes and disappointments, ventured commentary on the political turmoil that marked his era, and waxed rhapsodic about—and sometimes critical of—the great figures in art, music, and literature. Compiled here are some favorite quotes.

Do only what is exactly needed.

Sophocles, when asked in his old age whether he regretted the pleasures of love, replied: “Love? I have delivered myself of it wholeheartedly, as from a savage and a furious master.”

People on couch
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