Know then that art is: the means by which singular, solitary individuals fulfill themselves. What Napoleon was outwardly, every artist is inwardly. One climbs higher with each victory, as if with each new tread of a stair. But did Napolean ever win a battle to please the public?
Know then that art is: a path toward freedom. We have all been born in chains. A few forget their chains: they have them silver-plated or gilded. But we want to rend them; not through ugly and brute force; our desire is to grow out of them.
Know then that the artist creates for himself — only for himself. What for you becomes laughter or weeping, he must shape with the hands of a wrestler and raise it up out of himself. In him there is no room for his past; and so he gives it a separate, independent existence in works of art.
Rainer Marie Rilke The Florence Diary trans. Edward Snow