Saturday, 8 February 2014

Peter Kropotkin: The Conquest of Bread (1892)

Far be it for me to disparage a man's facial hair, but sometimes I do think this book should be called The Conquest of Beard, such was the wealth of chin- mane this genius of a man could sustain.

Get Conquest of Bread for free!

“The best canvases of modern artists are those that represent nature, villages, valleys, the sea with its dangers, the mountain with its splendours. But how can the painter express the poetry of work in the fields if he has only contemplated it, imagined it, if he has never delighted in it himself? If he only knows it as a bird of passage knows the country he soars over in his migrations? If, in the vigour of early youth, he has not followed the plough at dawn, and enjoyed mowing grass with a large sweep of the scythe next to hardy haymakers vying in energy with lively young girls who fill the air with their songs? The love of the soil and of what grows on it is not acquired by sketching with a paint-brush — it is only in its service; and without loving it, how paint it? This is why all that the best painters have produced in this direction is still so imperfect, not true to life, nearly always merely sentimental. There is no strength in it.

You must have seen a sunset when returning from work. You must have been a peasant among peasants to keep the splendour of it in your eye. You must have been at sea with fishermen at all hours of the day and night, have fished yourself, struggled with the waves, faced the storm, and after rough work experienced the joy of hauling a heavy net, or the disappointment of seeing it empty, to under- stand the poetry of fishing. You must have spent time in a factory, known the fatigues and the joys of creative work, forged metals by the vivid light of a blast furnace, have felt the life in a machine, to understand the power of man and to express it in a work of art."

“Very often the idler is but a man to whom it is repugnant to spend all his life making the eighteenth part of a pin, or the hundredth part of a watch, while he feels he has exuberant energy which we would like to expend elsewhere. Often, too, he is a rebel who cannot submit to being fixed all his life to a work-bench in order to procure a thousand pleasures for his employer, while knowing himself to be far the less stupid of the two, and knowing his only fault to be that of having been born in a hovel instead of coming into the world in a castle.”

By South Utsire

No comments:

Post a Comment