When guns talk the Muse is silent

Ok, so we had a war that has ended about a week ago. In this region it is not an uncommon occurrence unfortunately. What it does to the creativity process is not a pretty site.I mean, it devastates any desire to make art, leaving a bitter sense of futility. At least in my case it rendered me totally incapable to concentrate on doing art. I know many artists of different disciplines feel the same as I do and many artists reported this sense of frustration and futility. I wish I would be a politically oriented artist or alternatively had a secure shelter. Working in bunker could actually be very stimulating in a perverted kind of way, with the feeling that every stroke could be your last one.

I remember in this context, painting once in the far north of Israel right on the border with Lebanon .There was a heavy machinegun shooting  noises in the background and the whole thing felt so weird and unreal.

Here is a painting from the place.


I like this work actually and maybe something about the absurdity of the situation gave me an added sense of urgency that left no time for being busy with non essentials.

There are probably many artists who have worked in times of war but there is one whom I particularly admire . It is Johannes Vermeer, the great master of grace and light from Delft. (1632 –1675.)

I think that at least part of his life he must have lived during the great Dutch Revolt against the Spanish rule of King Philip||. Perhaps it was different in those times when wars were still fought with arches, spears and swords but I am sure that there were also cannons and sounds of explosions.  In fact there was a terrible explosion known in the history of Delft as the  Delft Thunderclap, occurred on 12 October 1654 when a gunpowder store exploded, destroying much of the city. Over a hundred people were killed and thousands wounded.


Few years later Vermeer painted the famous “ View of Delft “, leaving one to wonder what scars it left on his young soul and how much was this disaster, responsible of Vermeer’s family financial ruin, that consequently led to his early death at the age of 43.

It is obvious that wars and general unrest is not a good conductors for promoting creativity and art making and I believe that every language has it’s variation on the famous expression

“When guns are talking, the Muse is silent “.

2 Responses to When guns talk the Muse is silent

  1. Rona says:

    The painting is beautiful Josef.

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