Robert Beverly Hale (1901-1985), the legendary teacher at the Art Student’s League and curator of American paintings at the Metropolitan museum, reminds us that science and technique aren’t enough to equip an artist for the creative journey.
(Video Link) In this archival video, he recites the “Ode” from Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844–1881), making an eloquent case for the loneliness -- and loftiness -- of the artist’s life.
Here’s the whole text:
“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers
On whom the pale moon gleams
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.