Madeleine L’Engle on the Servant Artist

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From Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art, by Madeleine L’Engle:

“Obedience is an unpopular word nowadays, but the artist must be obedient to the work, whether it be a symphony, a painting, or a story for a small child. I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius or something very small, comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’ And the artist either says, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ and willingly becomes the bearer of the work, or refuses….

“When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly, than he knew; Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend.

“When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.”

1 thought on “Madeleine L’Engle on the Servant Artist

  1. Beautiful Chelle.

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