When The Love Stories of Artists Become The Subject Matter of a Book

When you do your research and want to write about people you never met you undoubtedly end up writing about yourself. You fill in the cracks with personal stories, with your idea of who they were and how the thought, talked, or acted, so it is a real risk that the reader will end up reading about yourself.

As they say, all art is a self-portrait.

Reading the essays from Significant Others: Creativity & Intimate Partnership by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron I got the impression of reading the typical art book: every artist was the very best, a creative genius, every love story unique, tragic, and influenced by said creative genius. 

The essays work on developing certain aspects of the personalities of different artists. The way love influenced their creativity, their works, the way they viewed life itself.

Designed as a case study, Significant Others: Creativity & Intimate Partnership is not just a book about artistic couples, but also about the way women have influenced the men they loved.

There’s a bit more drama than I am used to reading, especially since the emphasis is on “real life.” Maybe this will inspire and motivate you. The  fact that even brilliant artists lacked the self-awareness required to know why they did what they did. Why they cheated, decided to leave their lover, or create drama.

Overall an interesting read, sometimes tiresome in the way it over-analyzes what, ultimately, are human relationships, which are flawed and imperfect. The Genius is still human, which is a great lesson and this alone makes the book worth reading, in a world where most people’s freedom is restricted by the false believe that great people are somehow inherently different.

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