Creativity in Science and Art
Edited By Sixto J. Castro and Alfredo Marcos
Part III. Historical Moments of Creativity
Creativity, Continuity and Discontinuity in Science and Art1 J. C. PINTO DE OLIVEIRA 1. Introduction The question of creativity, continuity and discontinuity, which I intend to address here, is concisely expressed in Gauguin’s boutade, cited by Francis Haskell at the beginning of his article “Enemies of modern art”: “the curious and mad public [...] demands of the painter the greatest possible originality and yet only accepts him when he calls to mind other painters”2. Along similar lines, Gombrich writes in The Story of Art: The general public has settled down to the notion that an artist is a fellow who should produce Art much in the way a bootmaker produces boots. By this they mean that he should produce the kind of paintings or sculptures they have seen labelled as Art before. One can understand this vague de- mand, but, alas, it is the one job the artist cannot do. What has been done before presents no prob- lem anymore. There is no task in it that could put the artist on his mettle. But critics and ‘highbrows’, too, are sometimes guilty of a similar misunderstanding. They, too, tell the artist to produce Art; they, too, are inclined to think of pictures and statues as specimens for future muse- ums. The only task they set the artist is that of creating ‘something new’ – if they had their way, each work would represent a new style, a new ‘ism’.3 I believe that this question of the reception of a work of...
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