Had jesting Pilate asked “What is Art?” he would have waited quite as many centuries for an answer as he has for the answer to his question about Truth. For art to the artist, and art to the rest of us, are two very different things. Art to the artist is quite simply Life, his life, of which he has an amplitude and intensity unknown to us. What he does for us is to thrill us awake to the amplitude and intensity of all life, our own included. And this is a miracle for which we can never be thankful enough.
This, at least, is what Rockwell Kent’s Alaska drawings and Alaska journal do for me; they take me away from that tired absorption in things of little import which makes up most of our human life and make me see, not an unreal world of romantic illusion, that fool’s pleasure given by the second-rate artist, but the real wonder-world in which I live and have always lived. They make me see suddenly that there is a vast deal more in the world than embittering and anxious preoccupations, that much of it is fine, much is comforting, much awe-inspiring, much profoundly tragic, and all of it makes up a whole so vast that no living organism need feel cramped.