French Poet, Art Critic
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
French Poet, Art Critic
The mainspring of genius is curiosity.
The photographic industry was the refuge of all the painters who couldn't make it, either because they had no talent or because they were too lazy to finish their studies. Hence this universal infatuation was not only characterized by blindness and stupidity, but also by vindictiveness.
The son will run away from the family not at eighteen but at twelve, emancipated by his gluttonous precocity; he will fly not to seek heroic adventures, not to deliver a beautiful prisoner from a tower, not to immortalize a garret with sublime thoughts, but to found a business, to enrich himself and to compete with his infamous papa.
The world is composed of folks who can think only in common, in bands.
There exist certain individuals who are, by nature, given purely to contemplation and are utterly unsuited to action, and who, nevertheless, under a mysterious and unknown impulse, sometimes act with a speed which they themselves would have thought beyond them.
This industry [photography], by invading the territories of art, has become art's most mortal enemy.
To glorify the cult of images (my great, my only, my earliest passion).
Vegetal ambrosia, precious grain scattered by the eternal Sower, I shall descend in you so that from our love there will be born poetry, which will spring up toward God like a rare flower!
In putting off what one has to do, one runs the risk of never being able to do it.
It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.
It must not be thought that the devil tempts only men of genius. He doubtless scorns imbeciles, but he does not disdain their assistance. Quite the contrary, he founds great hopes on them.
Like those great sphinxes lounging through eternity in noble attitudes upon the desert sand, they gaze incuriously at nothing, calm and wise.
My concern today is with the painting of manners of the present. The past is interesting not only by reason of the beauty which could be distilled from it by those artists for whom it was the present, but also precisely because it is the past, for its historical value. It is the same with the present. The pleasure which we derive from the representation of the present is due not only to the beauty with which it can be invested, but also to its essential quality of being present
Nothing in a portrait is a matter of indifference. Gesture, grimace, clothing, decor even - all must combine to realize a character.
Once someone asked, when I was present, what constituted the greatest pleasure in love. Someone replied, naturally: in receiving. Another: in giving. Someone said: the pleasure of pride! someone else: the ecstasy of humility! All these muckers making like the Imitation of Christ. Finally, an impudent utopian was found who insisted that the greatest pleasure of love was in forming new citizens for the fatherland. Me, I said: what is uniquely, supremely voluptuous about love lies in the certainty of doing evil.
Poetry and progress are like two ambitious men who hate one another with an instinctive hatred, and when they meet upon the same road, one of them has to give place.
Seek not my heart; the beasts have eaten it.
That in all times, mediocrity has dominated, that is indubitable; but that it reigns more than ever, that it is becoming absolutely triumphant and inhibiting, this is what is as true as it is distressing.
The dream of a curious, do you know as tasty bitterness and make you say, What singular man! I would die. Mingled in my loving soul the horror and desire: a bad particular. Anguish and hope, without factious attitude When the hourglass was beginning to empty grew my sharp and delightful torture. My heart was fleeing the familiar world I was like a child hungry for shows that hates the curtain as well as the obstacles they hate... and finally shew, cold, common reality had died without shock, and the terrible dawn enveloped me. ?And that? I said, 'The time has come. The curtain had risen and I expect yet.?
The man who gets on best with women is the one who knows best how to get on without them.
The phrase "a literature of decadence" implies a scale of literature: infancy, childhood, adolescence, etc. This term, I would say, supposes something fateful and providential, like an inescapable decree; and it is completely unjust to reproach us for the fulfillment of a law that is mysterious. All I can understand of this academic saying is that it is shameful to obey this law pleasurably, and that we are guilty of rejoicing in our destiny.
The soul is a thing so impalpable, so often useless and sometimes so embarrassing that I suffered, upon losing it, a little less emotion than if I had mislaid, while out on a stroll, my calling-card.
The world is just a misunderstanding, thanks. As a result of a general misunderstanding all you see are in agreement. For if the people unfortunate enough to understand each other, they could not agree on anything.
There exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill and to create. Other men are taxable and exploitable, made for the stable, that is to say, to exercise so called professions.
This is Boredom! - Loaded with involuntary tear, he dreams of scaffolds as he smokes his hookah. You know him, reader, this delicate monster, hypocrite player, similar -my, -my brother!