Rodin on Art and Artists "Conversations with Paul Gsell"
Auguste Rodin by Edward J Steichen
Generally, it's an amazing book where Rodin talks about sculpture, poetry, painting, great artists, Balzac, religion and many other brilliant things.
And here-- is my favorite quote so far, from a chapter called "Thought in Art."
"Let us understand each other," Rodin said, laughing. "There are certain admirers of such complicated brain that they attribute most unexpected intentions to the artist. We are not talking of these. But you may rest assured that the masters are always conscious of what they do." And tossing his head, "If the skeptics of whom you speak only know what energy it takes for the artist to translate, even feebly, what he thinks and feels with the greatest strength, they would not doubt that all that appears shining forth from a picture or sculpture was intended." A few moments later, he continued: "In short, the purest masterpieces are those in which one finds no inexpressive waste of forms, lines and colors, but where all, absolutely all, expresses thought and soul.
"Yet it may happen that when the masters animate the Nature of their ideals, they delude themselves. It may be that it is governed by an indifferent force or by a will whose design our intelligence is incapable of penetrating. At least, the artists, in representing the universe as he imagines it, formulates his own dreams. In nature he celebrates his own soul. And so he enriches the soul of humanity. For in coloring the material world with his spirit he reveals to his delighted fellow beings a thousand unsuspected shades of feeling. He discovers to them riches in themselves until then unknown. He gives them new reasons for loving life, new inner lights to guide them.
"He is, as Dante said of Virgil, 'their guide, their master, and their friend.'"