"Every art has its speculative and its practical aspect: the former consists in knowing the principles of an art, without their being applied, the latter in their habitual and unthinking application. It is difficult if not impossible to go far in the practice of an art without speculation, and, conversely, to have a thorough knowledge of the speculative aspects of an art without being versed in its practice. In every art there are many particulars concerning its material, its instruments, and its application which can only be learned through practice. It is the function of practice to present difficulties and phenomena, while speculation must explain the phenomena and solve the difficulties. Consequently, only an artist who can think logically can talk well about his art."
Denis Diderot, The Encyclopedia
A Word from the Salonnière:
My dear thinkers, geniuses, artists of these enlightened times, you are gathered this day in such place where the barriers of knowledge and the chains of conventions and superstitions have been broken. We must set free our beautiful minds and let them wander eagerly into the realms of the unknown. Here, my brave friends, who have vanquished the dangerous and treacherous beast of ignorance, you may now reach the high spheres of science and art and grasp onto the grandiose principles of Truth.
Diderot, Rousseau, Burke, Kant, and many before and after you, you have explored, enquired, written about and reached new levels of knowledge and understanding on the mysterious and captivating power of art and aesthetics. David, Chardin, Boucher, and all your fellow painters, you have devoted your life to achieve ultimate perfection and beauty.
But let me ask you,
Who has never wondered who, of the philosopher in his high and mighty domain of abstraction and theory or of the Artist or Artisan who lives within and handles the matter of the world, has grown closer to the ultimate truth? Can the philosopher judge and evaluate the principles of humanity and Nature if he has not dwelled into their practical aspects, and can the Artist truly achieve a masterpiece without a deep understanding of its abstract and fundamental principles?
It is with the hope of answering this question that I have invited you, Philosophes and Artists, in the Salon Carré of the Louvre.
Your Salonnière, guardian of Truth, protector of Freedom and Civilization