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Letters on Poetry and Art ->Literature, Art, Beauty and Yoga ->On the Visual Arts ...


General Remarks on the Visual Arts


Art and Nature

There is no incompatibility between the inspiration from within and the dependence on Nature. The essence of the inspiration always comes from within but the forms of expression are based on Nature though developed and modified by the selective or interpretative sight of the artist.

6 September 1933


A painter can certainly bring home the aspects of the sea and the beauty of Nature, but he does it as an artist, in the way of Art. He does it by representation and suggestion, not by mere reproduction of the object. The question of Art or Nature being more beautiful therefore does not arise.

16 March 1936


Art cannot give what Nature gives; it gives something else.

20 June 1934

On Nandalal Bose’s Ideas on Art

Nandalal Bose says: “In art three points are essential.We may say that the top point of the triangle is inspiration and the two points of the base are the study of nature and the study of tradition.”
Nandalal’s saying is true; but the three have to be combined and developed and harmonised in their combination to a sufficient degree before they bear the fruit of finished or great art.

10 January 1936



In a letter to me, Nandalal wrote of love as “the only thing for Art”.
It is a way of speaking, I suppose, in accordance with his own experience. It is the creative Force which he calls Love—others might call it by another name because they see it in another aspect.

4 November 1933

Inspiration and the Vital

For the last two or three days I have been getting inspirations for painting. But I have a question about that. Do these inspirations come from the vital world? Is this harmful?
It is of course vital. All art comes through the vital. But what manifests through it can only be said when one sees what it produces.

7 November 1933

Form and Colour

In order to get a significance through a picture there must be a definite form—form and colour are the essentials of painting and neither by itself is enough. Here [in a painting sent to Sri Aurobindo] there is colour but no form—or only a shapeless shape—as if you were trying to get rid of form and paint only forces or indefinite suggestions. But that is contrary to an art which depends on colour, line and design.


I see no objection to your going for two or three days to Madras for this purpose [to make a recording]. I don’t suppose you will paint the town red and the Cinema sounds harmless, though if the newspaper pictures are any guide, it is likely to be disappointing; I have yet to see anything that really suggested an artistic piece.

28 November 1936

Sri Aurobindo

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The only way to come a little close to him is to love him sincerely and give oneself unreservedly to his work. Thus, each one does his best and contributes as much as he can to that transformation of the world which Sri Aurobindo has predicted.

The Mother
(Vol. 12, pp. 398-99)