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Andre Malraux (1901 – 1976)


French novelist, adventurer, art historian and statesman.
Andre Malraux
What is man? A miserable little pile of secrets.
Malraux quotes
The present age delights in unearthing a great man's secrets; for one thing because we like to temper our admiration and also perhaps we have a vague hope of finding a clue to genius in such "revelations."
Malraux
Once the masterpiece has emerged, the lesser works surrounding it fall into place; and it then gives the impression of having been led up to and foreseeable, though actually it is inconceivable or, rather, it can only be conceived of once it is there for us to see it. It is not a scene that has come alive, but a latent potentiality that has materialized. Suppose that one of the world's masterpieces were to disappear, leaving no trace behind it, not even a reproduction; even the completest knowledge of its maker's other works would not enable the next generation to visualize it. All the rest of Leonardo's oeuvre would not enable us to visualize the Mona Lisa; all Rembrandt's, the Three Crosses or The Prodigal Son; all Vermeer's, The Love Letter; all Titian's, the Venice Piet?; all medieval sculpture, the Chartres Kings or the Naumburg Uta. What would another picture by the Master of Villeneuve look like? How could even the most careful study of The Embarkation for Cythera, or indeed that of all Watteau's other works conjure up L'Enseigne de Gersaint, had it disappeared?




Malraux Andre quotes
Though man's feeling for the other-worldly often has recourse to solitude, solitude does not foster its development; rather, it is nourished by communion, to which the church is more propitious than the cemetery.
Malraux Andre
Athirst for personal salvation, the West forgets that many religions had but a vague notion of the life beyond the grave; true, all great religions stake a claim on eternity, but not necessarily on man's eternal life.
Andre Malraux quotes
One cannot create an art that speaks to me when one has nothing to say.
Andre Malraux
No one can endure his own solitude.
Malraux Andre quotes
A large share of our art heritage is now derived from peoples whose idea of art was quite other than ours, and even from peoples to whom the very idea of art meant nothing.
Malraux
Each form of the sacrosanct was regarded by members of the culture which gave rise to it as a revelation of the Truth; at Byzantium it was not a mere hypothesis that was sponsored by the majesty of the Byzantine style. To us, however, these forms make their appeal as forms alone in other words, as they would be were they the work of a contemporary (and, since this actually is unthinkable, they affect us in a puzzling manner); or else as so many grandiose vestiges of a faith that has died out. We look at them from outside; they are still emotive, but they are no longer true. Thus we deprive them of what was their most vital element; for a religious civilization that regarded what it revered as a mere hypothesis is inconceivable.
Malraux Andre
Our characteristic response to the mutilated statue, the bronze dug up from the earth, is revealing. It is not that we prefer time-worn bas-reliefs, or rusted statuettes as such, nor is it the vestiges of death that grip us in them, but those of life. Mutilation is the scar left by the struggle with Time, and a reminder of it Time which is as much a part of ancient works of art as the material they are made of, and thrusts up through the fissures, from a dark underworld, where all is at once chaos and determinism.
Andre Malraux
Could we bring ourselves to feel what the first spectators of an Egyptian statue, or a Romanesque crucifixion, felt, we would make haste to remove them from the Louvre. True, we are trying more and more to gauge the feelings of those first spectators, but without forgetting our own, and we can be contented all the more easily with the mere knowledge of the former, without experiencing them, because all we wish to do is put this knowledge to the work of art.




Andre Malraux quotes
Our art culture makes no attempt to search the past for precedents, but transforms the entire past into a sequence of provisional responses to a problem that remains intact.
Andre Malraux
The ordinary man puts up a struggle against all that is not himself, whereas it is against himself, in a limited but all-essential field, that the artist has to battle.
Malraux quotes
The artist is not the transcriber of the world, he is its rival.
Malraux Andre
The sons of torture victims make good terrorists.
Malraux Andre quotes
"Why do you fight?" ... He kept his wife, his kid, from dying. That was nothing. Less than nothing. If he had had money, if he could have left it to them, he would have been free to go and get killed. As if the universe had not treated him all his life with kicks in the belly, it now despoiled him of the only dignity he could ever possess his death.
Andre Malraux
If a man is not ready to risk his life, where is his dignity?
Andre Malraux quotes
An individualism which has got beyond the stage of hedonism tends to yield to the lure of the grandiose. It was not man, the individual, nor even the Supreme Being, that Robespierre set up against Christ; it was that Leviathan, the Nation.
Andre Malraux
Surely that little pseudo-gothic church on Broadway, hidden amongst the skyscrapers, is symbolic of the age! On the whole face of the globe the civilization that has conquered it has failed to build a temple or a tomb.
Malraux Andre
If modern painters feel qualms about applying the term "masterpiece" to describe a work of capital importance, this is because it has come to convey a notion of perfection: a notion that leads to much confusion when applied to artists other than those who made perfection their ideal.


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