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  • Memoir

“Perhaps the old academies were right after all: don’t learn by copying nature, copy art. It’s not that nature gets it wrong, it’s that good artists show you how to get nature right. They know what changes you have to make to a thing to make it look like itself, but in another medium. What a chisel has to do to make marble flowers look like flowers, what a paintbrush has to do to bring a face to life in two dimensions. No matter what direction you take later, imitating the best work of your betters makes a good beginning. Maybe my eighteenth-centry motto got it backward. Don’t imitate Homer, imitate the Iliad.

The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making (New York: Viking, 2012), 75–6.
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