BY CARL HERRMANN.
Translated by Florence Leonard.
Without appreciation, without applause, no man, least of all an artist, is likely to succeed; but the most purely spontaneous applause—only too often outweighed by the irresponsible fault-finding of some critic—the sincerest approval is but a small return for the days and nights of anxiety which the artist has spent on his work.
Talent alone is not warrant enough for the choice of a profession; character, personality, is often a more important consideration.
Marie Ebner-Eschenbach has said: “The character of an artist either nourishes or destroys his talent.”
As no two men are exactly alike, so do no two talents correspond precisely. The material in which the artists work is all that is common to them.
Without diligence, upon which one cannot lay stress enough, one cannot accomplish anything in ordinary life even; how much less, then, in art, which is concentrated accomplishment and life intensified. Without diligence the greatest talent will grow rusty, as many examples warn us.
Talent, character, and industry are, then, the supports on which every structure of art must be raised.
To be diligent in art one must know how to be diligent, how to use and develop his strength.
And Goethe says: “Before you can make what is good you must know what good is.”
The aim of education will always be to make the student strong, according to his talents, for the struggle with life.
The teacher must strive, also, to estimate justly the ability of his pupil, and to direct properly the growth of that ability.
The best of teachers is only a sign-post, a guide. Whether and how any wayfarer climbs the steep mountain of art depends on the traveler himself, and is often conditioned on a thousand chances, small and hardly to be reckoned.