The subject of art

Abstract art is only painting. And what’s so dramatic about that? There is no abstract art. One must always begin with something. Afterwards one can remove all semblance of reality; there is no longer any danger as the idea of the object has left an indelible imprint. It is the object which aroused the artist, stimulated his ideas and set of his emotions. These ideas and emotions will be imprisoned in his work for good… Whether he wants it or not, man is the instrument of nature; she imposes on him character and appearance. In my paintings of Dinard, as in my paintings of Purville, I have given expression to more or less the same vision… You cannot go against nature. She is stronger than the strongest of men. We can permit ourselves some liberties, but in details only.

– Pablo Picasso, 1934

Cited in: Friedenthal, Richard (trans. Daphne Woodward) (1963) Letters of the Great Artists – from Blake to Pollock. London: Thames and Hudson,