48. My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok
Read for my Colloquia
One of my all-time favorites! I also love the sequel & so wish that Potok would have written the final book of the trilogy! Asher comes to age as both he and his family grapple with the intensity of his artistic gifts and what they mean in the context of their ultra-conservative Hasidic Jewish community.
"Millions of people can draw. Art is whether or not there is a scream in him wanting to get out in a special way."
"Or a laugh," she said. "Picasso laughs, too."
Only one who has mastered a tradition has a right to attempt to add to it or to rebel against it.
Asher Lev, there are two ways of painting in the world. In the whole history of art, there are only these two ways. One is the way of Greece and Africa, which sees the world as a geometric design. The other is the way of Persia and India and China, which sees the world as a flower. Ingres, Ce'zaane, Picasso paint the world as geometry. Van Gogh, Renoir, Kandisnsky, Chagall paint the world as a flower.
One must not paint everything one feels. But once you decide to paint something, you must paint the truth or you will paint green rot.