Gabriela Mistral: “Decalogue of the Artist”

Decalogue of the Artist

I.  You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God upon the universe.

II.  There is no godless art.  Though you do not worship any Creator, still you affirm Him by creating as He does.

III.  You shall not let beauty be a bait for the senses, but rather, a sustenance given to the soul.

IV.  You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury or vanity, but as a practice of spirit.

V.  You shall not seek beauty in carnivals or fairs, nor hawk your work there, for beauty is virginal and not found in spectacle.

VI.  Beauty shall move from your heart into song, and it is you who shall be the first to be purified.

VII.  The beauty you create shall be also known as mercy, and it shall console the hearts of men.

VIII.  You shall bring forth your work as one brings forth a son: from the blood of your own heart.

IX.  Beauty shall not be a sedative, but a strong wine that inflames you to act, for if you stop being a simple man or woman, you will also stop being an artist.

X.  Each act of creation shall leave you humble, for it was never as great as your own dream, and always inferior to that greatest dream of God: Nature.

Gabriela Mistral

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2014

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