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Gino Severini

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..since then I have found consolation in Blake; 'Without Contraries is no progression', he says in his Proverbs of Hell. And Baudelaireís idea that 'Variety is an essential condition of life' seems to me to be in perfect accord with my aspirations and with my intention, as a Futurist painter, to put life in the place occupied by reasoning in the art of the Cubist period.
--
as quoted in Letters of the great artists, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p. 247 (translation Daphne Woodward)

 
Gino Severini

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The progression of a painterís work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer. As examples of such obstacles, I give (among others) memory, history or geometry, which are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.

 
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When we did Cubist paintings, our intention was not to produce Cubist paintings but to express what was within us. No one laid down a course of action for us, and our friends the poets followed our endeavour attentively but they never dictated it to us.

 
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Even Plato assumes that the genuinely perfect condition of man means no sex distinction (and how strange this is for people like Feuerbach who are so occupied with affirming sex-differentiation, regarding which they would do best to appeal to paganism). He assumes that originally there was only the masculine (and when there is no thought of femininity, sex-distinction is undifferentiated), but through degeneration and corruption the feminine appeared. He assumes that base and cowardly men became women in death, but he still gives them hope of being elevated again to masculinity. He thinks that in the perfect life the masculine, as originally, will be the only sex, that is, that sex-distinction is a matter of indifference. So it is in Plato, and this, the idea of the state notwithstanding, was the culmination of his philosophy. How much more so, then, the Christian view. Journals VA 14

 
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In the early days the Cubistsí method of grasping an object was to go round and round it (round the object, fh); the futurists declared that one had to get inside it (inside the object, fh). In my opinion the two views can be reconciled in a poetic cognition of the world. But to the very fact that they appealed to the creative depths in the painter by awakening in him hidden forces which were intuitive and vitalizing, the Futurist theories did more than the Cubist principles to open up unexplored and boundless horizons.

 
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Baudelaire is the great symbol of líart pour líart (art for the sake of art): sickness as beauty. Baudelaire is thus Liberalism in literature, disease as a principle of Life, crisis as health, morbidity as soul-life, disintegration as purpose.

 
Charles Baudelaire
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