Ralph Waldo Emerson
Modern Library collection of essays, paperback
Emerson covers a lot of ground and in this essay he discusses art and published in 1841. Here too he writes with wide-reaching impact. Even the last lines I've included capture what Pop art exposed.
275- "But the artist must employ the symbols in use in his day and nation to convey his enlarged sense to his fellow-men. Thus the new in art is always formed out of the old."
-"Thus, historically viewed, it has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty. We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision."
276- "The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety. Until one thing comes out from the connection of things, there can be enjoyment, contemplation, but no thought. Our happiness and unhappiness and unproductive."
-"The power to detach and to magnify by detaching is the essence of rhetoric in the hands of the orator and the poet."
-"The power depends on the depth of the artist's insight of the object he contemplates."
277- "Painting seems to be to the eye what dancing is to the limbs."
278- "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not."
-(visiting the Vatican one can forget) "they had their origin from thoughts and laws in his own breast"
279- (Naples) "There I saw that nothing was changed with me but the place...made all that traveling ridiculous as a treadmill."
-"All great actions have been simple, and all great pictures are."
280- "But true art is never fixed, but always flowing."
282- "...instinct to find beauty and holiness in new and necessary facts, in the field and the road-side, in the shop and mill..."