Friday, October 22


Beauty rests on necessities.   The line of beauty is the result of perfect economy.   The cell of the bee is built at that angle which gives the most strength with the least wax; the bone or the quill of the bird gives the most alar strength with the least weight.   “It is the purgation of superfluities,” said Michel Angelo.   There is not a particle to spare in natural structures.   There is a compelling reason in the uses of the plant, for every novelty of color or form: and our art saves material, by more skilful arrangement, and reaches beauty by taking every superfluous ounce that can be spared from a wall, and keeping all its strength in the poetry of column.   In rhetoric, this art of omission is a chief secret of power, and, in general, it is proof of high culture, to say the greatest matters in the simplest way.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson  The Conduct of Life