Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Style of the Mythical Age

But although the artist's problem seems to be mainly technical, his real impulse goes beyond this--it goes to the universe; and the true piece of art, even though it be the shortest lyric, must always embrace the totality of the world, must be the mirror of that universe, but one of full counterweight. This is felt by every artist, but is creatively realized only by the artist of old age...One cannot capture the universe by snaring its atoms one by one; one can only capture it by showing its basic and essential principles, its basic, and one might even say, its mathematical structure. And here the abstractism of such ultimate principles joins hands with the abstractism of the technical problem: this union constitutes the 'style of old age.'

The artist who has reached such a point is beyond art. He still produces art, but all the minor and specific problems, with which art in its worldly phase usually deals, have lost interest for him; he is interested neither in the 'beauty' of art, nor the effect which it produces on the public: although the artist more than any other, his attitude approximates that of the scientist, with whom he shares the concern for expressing the universe; however, since he remains an artist, his abstractism is not that of science but very near to that of myth.

"The Style of the Mythical Age," Hermann Broch

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