Through art alone are we able to emerge from ourselves, to know what another person sees

stairs

Instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself

Style for the writer, no less than colour for the painter, is a question not of technique but of vision: it is the revelation, which by direct and conscious methods would be impossible, of the qualitative difference, the uniqueness of the fashion in which the world appears to each one of us, a difference which, if there were no art, would remain forever the secret of every individual. Through art alone are we able to emerge from ourselves, to know what another person sees of a universe which is not the same as our own and of which, without art, the landscape would remain as unknown to us as those that may exist on the moon.

Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world only, our own, we see that world multiply itself and we have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, worlds more different one from the other than those which revolve in infinite space, worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, whether it is called Rembrant or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance.

by Marcel Proust (10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922)
from Remembrance of Things Past
Book 6: Time regained
quoted in The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time
by Phyllis Rose
image – Malcom Tredinnick

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