The Hidden Sphere
(of Artistic Concerns) Cecil Orion Touchon

Number 3

When we place the mastercraftsmen
who have preceded us upon a pedestal,
we forget that we too
have the same potential
and therefore do not strive.(1)

When we place too high of a value
on the objects of art
collectors begin to horde them for investment value,
museums begin to protect them
for their monetary value
and start to seem like bank vaults.
Like this, art loses its real value.

Therefore, the mastercraftsman advocates
the value of striving with humility and simplicity, (2)
The value of working at one's craft
without greedy ambition,
and the value of avoiding the trap of trying
to cleverly follow the fashionable.


(1)   Whoever the master is whom you prefer, this must only be a directive for you. Otherwise you will never be anything but an imitator. With any feeling for nature whatever, and some fortunate gifts - and you have some - you should be able to dissociate yourself; advice, the methods of another, must not make you change your own manner of feeling. Should you at the moment be under the influence of one who is older than you, believe me as soon as you begin to feel yourself, your own emotions will finally emerge and conquer their place in the sun - get the upper hand - confidence... 

 Paul Cezanne, from a letter to Charles Camoin, 1904

  Your desire to find a moral, an intellectual point of support in the works [of the old Venetian masters], which assuredly we shall never surpass, makes you continually on the qui vive, searching incessantly for the way, [which ] you dimly apprehend, [that] will lead you surely to the recognition, in front of nature, of what your means of expression are; and the day you will have found them, be convinced that you will find also, without effort, and in front of nature, the means employed by the four or five great ones of Venice.... During this period [of experimentation] we turn towards the admirable works that have been handed down to us through-out the ages, where we find comfort, a support such as a plank is for a bather. 

 Paul Cezanne, from a letter to Emile Bernard, 1905

 (2) A certain pride in the conception of a work and extreme humility in its realization. Extreme pride and extreme humility. But both an extreme pride in concieving it and an extreme humility in realizing it are necessary.

Joan Miro, letter to S. Gasch, Montroig, Aug. 16, 1928

 Humility collects the soul into a sinle point by the power of silence. A truely humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God.

Isaac of Nineveh (6th Century)

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