Sunday, August 26, 2012

An artist's inspiration - Do we need to know?

In the book "Death in Venice" Thomas Mann has this to say

" it is well for the world that it sees only the beauty of the completed work and not its origins nor the conditions whence it sprang; since knowledge of the artist's inspiration might often but confuse and alarm and so prevent the full effect of its excellence"

So many times there is a need to know the source or origin of a work of art. In Carnatic music, the lineage usually explains this to a large extent. The choice of songs, ragams, sangatis, paataantharams etc show this clearly. The problems crop up when this is not very visible. An artiste does seek multiple sources of inspiration. Sometimes the final output  is a combination of so many different things that it is virtually impossible to trace any source of inspiration directly. The "knowledgeable" cannot hold it any longer and has to immediately find out where this came from.