by Henri Barbusse


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The whole artist, whose work we are about to study side by side with his life, is summed up in this anecdote. It reveals one of the most typical sides of his temperament, and, consequently, of his talent: a constant and scrupulous endeavour, maintained even at the price of sacrifices that would seem excessive to the layman, to interpret nature precisely as she is. It was this noble ambition-and we shall find other examples of it in the course of an artistic career in which it was the dominant note-that made him say to his pupils, with a conviction that commanded respect: "If I should sketch a horse from memory I should feel that I had been guilty of an insult to nature!" And it is because he conceived his ideal after this fashion that this unerring painter of so many military types and scenes never attempted to picture skirmishes or battles. It was not that he did not want to, or had not cherished the dream of doing so. But he had never seen a battle; and a battle is a thing that cannot be reconstructed, like a marching column or a detail of camp life. Accordingly he painted none, because he decided, with a certain loftiness, _that he did not really know what a battle was! Let us keep this attitude of mind before us, and even underscore it in our memory. For this alone, in a vague way, would suffice to characterize the artist with whom we are concerned; and his whole long, rich, and fruitful career may be summed up as a successful and varied application of one great principle: devout and inflexible respect for reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781548413378
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/05/2017
Pages: 42
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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