Everyone Wants to Understand Art

Pablo Picasso, A Girl with a Book
Everyone wants to understand art. Why don’t we try to understand the songs of a bird? Why do we love the night, the flowers, everything around us, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting, people think they have to understand. If only they realised above all that an artist works of necessity, that he himself is only an insignificant part of the world, and that no more importance should be attached to him than to plenty of other things that please us in the world, though we can’t explain them. People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree. 
People want to find a ‘meaning’ in everything and everyone. That’s the disease of our age, an age that is anything but practical but believes itself to be more practical than any other age. 
I object to the idea that there should be three or four thousand ways of interpreting my pictures. There ought to be no more than one, and within this interpretation it should be possible, to some extent, to see nature, which after all is nothing but a kind of struggle between my inner being and the outer world. 
Is there anything more dangerous that being understood? All the more so, as there is no such thing. You are always misunderstood. You think you aren’t lonely, but in actual fact you are even more lonely.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)


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