Friday, March 21, 2008

 

...because I have no tail to wag


"Formerly, yes, art and culture, and the Apollonian and the Dionysian and all that, seemed terribly important. But today I'm satisfied if I can turn out a good picture, I don't see problems any more, in any case not philosophical problems. If I had to tell you why I'm a painter and why I spread paint on canvas, I should say: I paint because I have no tail to wag."

Albert looked with astonishment at his father, who had not spoken to him like this in a long time. "No tail? What do you mean?"

"It's very simple. Dogs and cats and other talented animals have tails; their tails, with their thousands of flourishes, provide them with a wonderfully complete language of arabesques, not only for what they think and feel and suffer but for every mood and vibration of their being, for every infinitesimal variation in their feeling tone. We have no tails, and since the more lively among us need some such form of expression, we make ourselves paintbrushes and pianos and violins..."


[Johann Veraguth, protagonist of Hermann Hesse's 1914 novel Rosshalde]

Comments:
A superb concept.
 
Interesting... Pity we are born without tails! Mummy always praise us both for being expressive, especially with our vocabulary.
 
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