1) When we place the mastercraftsmen who have preceded us upon a pedestal, we forget that we too have the same potential and therefore do not strive.(1)  

2) When we place too high of a value on the objects of art collectors begin to horde them for investment value, museums begin to protect them for their monetary value and start to seem like bank vaults. Like this, art loses its real value.  

3) Therefore, the mastercraftsman advocates the value of striving with humility and simplicity, (2) The value of working at one's craft without greedy ambition, and the value of avoiding the trap of trying to cleverly follow the fashionable.


1) Whoever the master is whom you prefer, this must only be a directive for you. Otherwise you will never be anything but an imitator. With any feeling for nature whatever, and some fortunate gifts - and you have some - you should be able to dissociate yourself; advice, the methods of another, must not make you change your own manner of feeling. Should you at the moment be under the influence of one who is older than you, believe me as soon as you begin to feel yourself, your own emotions will finally emerge and conquer their place in the sun - get the upper hand - confidence...   

Paul Cezanne, from a letter to Charles Camoin, 1904 
Your desire to find a moral, an intellectual point of support in the works[of the old Venetian masters], which assuredly we shall never surpass, make you continually on the qui vive, searching incessantly for the way, [which ] you dimly apprehend, [that] will lead you surely to the recognition in front of nature of what your means of expression are; and the day you will have found them, be convinced that you will find also without effort and in front of nature the means to employed by the four or five great ones of Venice.... During this period [of experimentation] we turn towards the admirable works that have been handed down to us through-out the ages, where we find comfort, a support such as a plank is for a bather.   
Paul Cezanne, from a letter to Emile Bernard, 1905
2) A certain pride in the conception of a work and extreme humility in its realization. Extreme pride and extreme humility. But both an extreme pride in conceiving it and an extreme humility in realizing it are necessary.   
Joan Miro, letter to S. Gasch, Montroig, Aug. 16, 1928
Humility collects the soul into a single point by the power of silence. A truly humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God.   
Isaac of Nineveh (6th Century)