Esperanza Guillén
Department of History of Art, University of Granada
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Emotional Indifference and Creative Isolation of the Artist
Dedalus 24 (2020), pp. 19-32. Download PDF

Based on the words of artists, this article examines solitude in the creative process. The construction of the myth of the artist as a genius removed from conventional social customs ran parallel with the need artists had to assert the singularity of their work in the art system – that is to say, in a context of exhibition and market unheard of until the nineteenth century. Carrying out their particular mission, as many artists revealed in their memoirs, diaries and letters, required physical and emotional isolation. Thus, whether they had a stable family or lived alone, whether they enjoyed intense intimate relationships and lived a more or less unbridled life or they were misanthropes, what is certain is that, in order to develop their creativity, artists – as they confessed in their personal writings – needed to put their affections and social activity aside, and withdraw into an environment of profound dialogue with their own subjectivity.

Keywords: Solitude, creativity, artist, silence, isolation, nineteenth, twentieth century