Decalogue Of The Artist

      Decalogue Of The Artist

I.

You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God over the Universe.

II.

There is no godless art. Although you love not the Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.

III.

You shall create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul.

IV.

You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

V.

You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal and is not to be found at carnival or fair.

VI.

Beauty shall rise from your heart in song, and you shall be the first to be purified.

VII.

The beauty you create shall be known as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.

VIII.

You shall bring forth your work as a mother brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.

IX.

Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action, for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman, you will fail to be an artist.

X.

Each act of creation shall leave you humble, for it is never as great as your dream and always inferior to that most marvelous dream of God which is Nature.

Gabriela Mistral
Translated by Doris Dana


Desolación (1922)
Original version