Covenant

“To the young artist my message would be somewhat different. To him I would say: our art is, indeed, the best alive today, but the best is but poor compared to what has been or to what should be. Let us strive to make it equal to any, and to that end let us fill ourselves with the Classic Spirit. Let us strive for perfection, recognizing that perfection is only to be attained by discipline and by self-control. Let us think not what is new, but what is good; not what is easy and attractive, but what is eternally right. Let us attach ourselves to what is noblest in the art of the past, trying to understand the reason of its nobility, and spend ourselves in generous emulation. Let us believe that passion and personality will find their way into our art, if we have them, and that it is a poor and sapless individuality that can be killed by a little hard work. Only in this spirit can a great art be created. Only in this spirit can a true school of painting exist. If we have this spirit, I believe, there is at least a chance that a great school of painting may come to exist here in our own country.”

–Kenyon Cox, The Classic Point of View

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