Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Albrecht Durer on Advertising.
If you ever decide to search for the apotheosis of Western art, looking at the work of Albrecht Durer isn't a bad place to start. His work has a precision, soul and depth that's hard to fault. Or maybe I just like zoo animals.
In any event, during the course of my recent literary, historical and biographical peregrinations I happened upon this quotation by 19th Century millionaire art historian and patron Charles Ephrussi on Durer.
"Picking up a drawing enables us to catch the thought of the artist in all its freshness, at the very moment of manifestation, with perhaps even more truth and sincerity than in the works that require arduous hours of labour, with the defiant patience of genius."
It's the last five words of the above that caught me..."the defiant patience of genius."
This is not to say that I believe any work in advertising is genius on the level of a Durer. No, that ain't the point.
What first struck me in the quotation was the word 'defiant.' Being a creative takes defiance. It demands an upset of the status quo, a search for the startling, the different, the unexpected, bold, unorthodox.
The word 'patience' is next. Genius/creativity takes patience. It takes an abnegation of those timesheet terrorists who rush you along. Patience doesn't mean slow. It means a dedication to the task that is stronger than those ephemera that press on you. It means unraveling a problem on your walk to the train, in the shower. It means the patience to derive something defiant against all odds.
An atmosphere that encourages or at least allows defiant patience is a hallmark of successful agencies. Successful creatives, too.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 8:56 AM