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“The true painting aims at creating something more beautiful than the ordinary reality.”[1]

“Let beauty be your constant ideal.

The beauty of the soul
The beauty of sentiments
The beauty of thoughts
The beauty of the action
The beauty in the work

so that nothing comes out of your hands which is not an expression of pure and harmonious beauty.
         And the Divine Help shall always be with you.”[2]

“Nirodbaran: No wonder people won't read poetry after what the Modernists have done with it.
Purani: It is the same thing in painting too. I remember how Francois and Agnes used to cudgel their brains to find out the significance of some bizarre, grotesque pictures.

Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps it was meant only as a joke and no meaning was there. You know the origin of Cubism? Mother used to go among the artists. One day she found that two artists as a joke had made some queer figures but people began to find great originality in them and praise them. Then they took it up seriously. There was a postman who painted a green cow grazing on red grass. People began to remark: “How original! How striking!” and now he is an outstanding painter. I forget his name. (Laughter)[3]

“Cubism” and Other Ultra-Modernism

“If these painters were sincere, if they truly painted what they feel and see, the picture would be the expression of a confused mind and an unruly vital. But, unhappily, the painters are not sincere and then these pictures are nothing else than the expression of a falsehood, an artificial imagination based only on the will to be strange and to bewilder the public in order to attract attention and that has indeed very little to do with beauty.”[4]

“Modern art is an experiment, still very clumsy, to express something other than the simple physical appearance. The idea is good — but naturally the value of the expression depends entirely on the value of that which wants to express itself.
         At present almost all artists live in the lowest vital and mental consciousness and the results are quite poor.
         Try to develop your consciousness, endeavour to discover your soul, and then what you will do will be truly interesting.”[5]

  1. On Education, p.233
  2. Ibid., p.232
  3. Talks with Sri Aurobindo (Vol. 2), p.824, 31 July 1940
  4. On Education, p.234
  5. Ibid., p.236

See also