Gabriela Mistral, 1889-1957: Decálogo del Artista, Decalogue of the Artist

Gabriela Mistral-Plaza Baquedano, Santiago,ChileI. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God 
over the Universe.

II. There is no godless art. Although you love not the 
Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.

III. You shall create beauty not to excite the senses 
but to give sustenance to the soul.

IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury 
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair 
or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal 
and is not to be found at carnival or fair.

VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song, 
and you shall be the first to be purified.

VII. The beauty you create shall be known 
as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.

VIII. You shall bring forth your work as a mother 
brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.

IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you 
to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action, 
for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman, 
you will fail to be an artist.

X. Each act of creation shall leave you humble, for it is never as great as your dream and always 
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God 
which is Nature.

 . . . . . . . . . . . .

Decálogo del Artista

I. Amarás la belleza, que es la sombra de Dios sobre 
el Universo.

II. No hay arte ateo. Aunque no ames al Creador, lo afirmarás 
creando a su semejanza.

III. No darás la belleza como cebo para los sentidos, sino como 
el natural alimento del alma.

IV. No te será pretexto para la lujuria ni para la vanidad, sino 
ejercicio divino.

V. No la buscarás en las ferias ni llevarás tu obra a ellas, 
porque la Belleza es virgen, y la que está en las ferias 
no es Ella.

VI. Subirá de tu corazón a tu canto y te habrá purificado a ti 
el primero.

VII. Tu belleza se llamará también misericordia, y consolará 
el corazón de los hombres.

VIII. Darás tu obra como se da un hijo: restando sangre de tu 
corazón.

IX. No te será la belleza opio adormecedor, sino vino generoso 
que te encienda para la acción, pues si dejas de ser hombre 
o mujer, dejarás de ser artista.

X. De toda creación saldrás con vergüenza, porque fué inferior 
a tu sueño, e inferior a ese sueño maravilloso de Dios, que 
es la Naturaleza.

Gabriela Mistral, 1889-1957.        Decálogo del Artista, Decalogue of the Artist

Image: Gabriela Mistral. Plaza Baquedano, Santiago, Chile

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Author: jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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