A penny is a penny: three quarters of an inch wide, about a sixteenth of an inch thick, weighs two and a half grams, made from copper, with Lincoln on one side and his memorial on the other. Every one is the same, right?
A penny may pass through a thousand hands before it stops in mine. Every coin takes its own journey, acquires its own experiences, its own scars, its own patina, and has lived a life all of its own. I have handled thousands—tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions—of pennies. Each one is different. Each one has its own story, its own secrets, its own spirit.
The common cent is anything but common.
Degas lives like a little lawyer, and he doesn't like women, knowing that if he liked them and fucked them a lot he would become cerebrally ill and hopeless at painting. Degas's painting is virile and impersonal precisely because he has resigned himself to being personally no more than a little lawyer, with a horror of riotous living. He watches human animals stronger than himself getting a hard-on and fucking, and he paints them well, precisely because he doesn't make such great claims about getting a hard-on.
Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, August 5, 1888
Art does not expand, it repeats itself.
Edgar Degas, letter to Lorenz Frölich, November 27, 1872
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