The Fate of the Architect | Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1809

last year at marienbad
Alain Resnais, Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

“Artists and artisans both demonstrate with perfect clarity that a person is least able to appropriate
for himself those things which are most peculiarly his. His works leave him as birds do the best
in which they were hatched.

In this respect an architect’s fate is the strangest of all. How often he employs his whole intellect
and warmth of feeling in the creation of rooms from which he must exclude himself. Royal halls
owe their splendor to him, and he may not share in the enjoyment of their finest effects. In temples
he draws the line between himself and the holy of holies; the steps he built to ceremonies that lift
up the heady, he may no longer climb; just as the goldsmith worships only from afar the monstrance
which he wrought in the fire and set with jewels. With the keys of the palace the architect hands
over all it’s comforts to the wealthy man, and has not the least part in them. Surely in this way
art must little by little grow away from the artist, if the work, like a child provided for, no
longer teaches back to touch its father.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities, 1809

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