Visions Seminar

This story makes one understand the extraordinary feeling for the material in old Chinese sculpture: the material spoke to them.

And it seems as if the marble in old Greek sculpture told the artist what the figure or the column should be like that he was about to make, what the marble wanted to become.

Do you remember, for instance, the two figures of the barbarian slaves in the Boboli gardens in Florence?

I advise you, the next time you are in Florence, to go first to the tomb of the Medici and look at Michelangelo’s marbles there, and then take a taxi,don’t look out of the window, but drive straight to the Boboli gardens, and there you will see the difference.

Those two figures of the barbarians are suggested by the stone, the stone speaks, it is really the stone;

while in Michelangelo’s figures the stone has just nothing to say; you get an hysterical impression, you feel that he did something with the stone which never should have been done.

I had a feeling of nausea; I said, “Now this is hysteria.”

It is the beginning of the Baroque style, and that was certainly not suggested by the stone.

The Gothic style is also in a way hysterical because it is not true to the nature of the stone; the builders suggested wood into the stone, and therefore they made buildings which are like plants.

And in antiquity they made the living ornament, like ivy, clutching the stone, not being the stone itself.

We have got very far away from the antique activity of the stone, when the spirit was still in the
object and the object could suggest itself to the artists.

To the ancient artists or builders the material suggested a certain thing.

A goblet or a sword said: “You must decorate me in such and such a way.”

Or the canoe said: “You must paint me, you must give me eyes, you must decorate me because I love you.”

That was the relation, because the antiqueman was under the spell of the object.~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Pages 452-453