In his Libro Neri, published in 1952, Giovanni Papini describes his visit to Picasso, when the artist delivered himself as follows:
In art, the mass of people no longer seek consolation and exultation, but those who are refined, rich, leisured, who are the distillers of quintessences, seek what is new, strange, original, scandalous. I myself, since Cubism and even before, have satisfied these masters and critics with all the changing oddities that have passed through my head; and the less they understood me the more they admired me. By amusing myself with all these new games, with all these puzzles, rebuses and arabesques, I became famous, and that very quickly. And fame for a painter means sales, gains, fortune, riches. So today, as you know, I am celebrated and rich.
But when I am alone with myself, I have not the courage to think of myself as an artist in the great and ancient sense of the term. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya were great painters. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his times and has exhausted as best he could the imbecility, the vanity, the cupidity of his contemporaries. Mine is a bitter confession, more painful than it may appear. But it has the merit of being sincere.
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