Eugène Delacroix
Quotations


I live in company with a body, a silent companion, exacting and eternal. He it is who notes that individuality which is the seal of the weakness of our race. My soul has wings, but the brutal jailer is strict.

Mediocre people have an answer for everything and are astonished at nothing. They always want to have the air of knowing better than you what you are going to tell them; when, in their turn, they begin to speak, they repeat to you with the greatest confidence, as if dealing with their own property, the things that they have heard you say yourself at some other place. . . . A capable and superior look is the natural accompaniment of this type of character.

I am carrying out my plan, so long formulated, of keeping a journal. What I most keenly wish is not to forget that I am writing for myself alone. Thus I shall always tell the truth, I hope, and thus I shall improve myself. These pages will reproach me for my changes of mind.

What makes men of genius, or rather, what they make, is not new ideas, it is that idea -- possessing them -- that what has been said has still not been said enough.

If one considered life as a simple loan, one would perhaps be less exacting. We possess actually nothing; everything goes through us.

What torments my soul is its loneliness. The more it expands among friends and the daily habits or pleasures, the more, it seems to me, it flees me and retires into its fortress. The poet who lives in solitude, but who produces much, is the one who enjoys those treasures we bear in our bosom, but which forsake us when we give ourselves to others. When one yields oneself completely to one’s soul, it opens itself to one, and then it is that the capricious thing allows one the greatest of good fortunes . . . that of sympathizing with others, of studying itself, of painting itself constantly in its works.

The studio has become the crucible where human genius at the apogee of its development brings back to question not only that which is, but creates anew a fantastic and conventional nature which our weak minds, impotent to harmonize it with existing things, adopt by preference, because the miserable work is our own.

A taste for simplicity cannot endure for long.

Ordinary people think that talent must be always on its own level and that it arises every morning like the sun, rested and refreshed, ready to draw from the same storehouse -- always open, always full, always abundant -- new treasures that it will heap up on those of the day before; such people are unaware that, as in the case of all mortal things, talent has its increase and decrease, and that independently of the career it takes, like everything that breathes . . . it undergoes all the accidents of health, of sickness, and of the dispositions of the soul -- its gaiety or its sadness. . . . As with our perishable flesh . . . talent is obliged constantly to keep guard over itself, to combat, and to keep perpetually on the alert amid the obstacles that witness the exercise of its singular power.



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