20 October, 2008

Artistic Integrity

Character Will Out. Henri Matisse on the Cover of Time Magazine.

It is a pleasant surprise to see that the dictionary definition of the word
integrity includes "artistic integrity" as a prime category of the virtue.

Merriam-Webster has it as follows:
Integrity 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : Incorruptibility.

While the topic of artistic courage leaves much room for study, here we have a term that artists may "own": artistic integrity. What is it, and how does one get it?

Here are some general quotes on integrity to chew on:

Albert Camus, "Integrity has no need of rules." 1.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, "A little integrity is better than any career." 2.
Eckhart von Hochheim, "In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity." 3.
Oliver Goldsmith, "Both wit and understanding are trifles without integrity. The ignorant peasant without fault is greater than the philosopher with many. What is genius or courage without a heart?" 4.

More to come in the next post.


Yellow said...

'Integrity has no need of rules.' What a strange this to say. Surely one's integrity is one's set of self-imposed rules. To act with integrity is to constantly aware of your actions and decisions within a code one has developed or adopted. Unless the quote means that, if everyone has a sense of integrity, then society would not need to set rules for people. However, for that to work, each person's integrity would need to by sympathetic with everyone elses. Is integrity always a positive thing? The conversation so far has included some damn bloody-minded individuals as examples. Strict adherance to one's integrity, accompanied by courage can lead to a lot of conflict with other contempories who don't share the same ideals.

Casey Klahn said...

I'm glad you're interacting with these ideas, too, Steph. I look at the authorities that I quote, but I don't "vet" them for "blood" or jail time.

Let's see. Camus: weird French existentialist author, but authoritative in his ideas. Worth thinking about, IMHO. Maybe to argue with, but still a purveyor of ideas.

Emerson: 19th Century highly well-known author. Yes, a strange man, but held in high regard by many.

Hochheim I had to look up. He was a German theologian of very individual authority - not your run-of-the-mill scholar but an independent thinker.

Goldsmith, an Irishman and noted author was a self-made man of letters, if you will.

I can't vouch for them all, or say that I agree with them, either. But, I did find some truth in their integrity quotes. I'm glad the Camus quote is challenging, eh?

Again, one of my astute (genius) readers has run ahead. I was thinking of Picasso, who held to fine integrity with his art, but not (IMHO) his life.

Then again, what is artistic integrity to me? More to think about, huh?

Making A Mark said...

I have to confess I was distracted by the picture on the cover and started off wondering what you'd done to get yourself on the cover of Time Magazine..........

Casey Klahn said...

Ha ha!

The clue would be the hair, of course. I was sorry that I couldn't see the date on the Matisse cover of Time, but I put it in the 1930s by my estimate.

I have a very current picture of me that is coming up soon, but I don't wish to "personify" myself in the character traits. I am a fellow traveler, looking to get these superlative artist's traits.

I'll sneak it in somehow.

Someday I'll share about my work in a seminal photo in the National Geographic magazine. Clue: I uphold Bill Gates in a strange way...

Casey Klahn said...

I did notice the similarity between Matisse and my own looks. Weird, huh?

Yellow said...

It's not my fault (genius - I don't think so but thanks)You can't expect to be able to start these conversations and expect me to hold my tongue. My head would explode all over the flatscreen. I didn't find my self nedding at the other quotes, I found them a little self-indulgent and smarmy to be honest, Camus got me thinking.

Casey Klahn said...

Oh Dear!!

I thought I vetted out the really smarmy ones...you should have seen those!

I have a feeling that if we were at the pub, a rousing conversation would go. I can't get a really good Guinness on tap here, you know.

Yellow said...

Casey, I'm gonna make you really jealous now as I live literally next door to a very good pub, which not only serves Guinness, but a range of Real Ales too. How I'm not 20 stone and bladdered all the time is due to pure will power on my behalf. Wouldn't it be great if we could get together over a few beers and chew over life, the universe and everything.

jafabrit said...

I guess when I think of artistic integrity I think of one being true to self and not easily corrupted away from that.

Casey Klahn said...

If I ever get there, you're buyin' the first round, Steph.

Corrine, I think you have a good summary there.

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