When I read this quote, I felt a little sting inside of me. So far, writing, to me, was something I love doing, but still, it is hard work. Therefore, I considered myself a ‘hard worker’, with some natural creativity, and, hopefully, some God-given talent.
I did not, whatsoever, combine my writing and the world ‘artist’ in the same sentence. And to me, a painter is clearly defined as an artist.
The moment I read that, I tried to find out who said it, and when I read ‘Voltaire’, I was surprised, and a tiny bit proud, too.
Voltaire is considered one of the best writers ever, busy as a bee, and in many ways controversial for the past times. His entire thinking was far ahead of his time. The fact that it was Voltaire, telling me that what I do is ‘painting’, just with words, instead of brushes, made me, for the first time, feel like being an artist.
Yes, I write, yes, I paint, I just paint with words… I paint wonderful pictures for the ones who take the time to stand still and ‘look’ at these pictures; take them in, enjoy them… read them, and imagine them… take my tools and use them to show your own picture in your head, in your dreams, in your imagination.
At this moment I consider this a wonderful Christmas present.
Thank you, Voltaire.
Author of the satirical novella ‘Candide,’ Voltaire is widely considered one of France’s greatest Enlightenment writers.
Who Was Voltaire?
Voltaire established himself as one of the leading writers of the Enlightenment. His famed works include the tragic play Zaïre, the historical study The Age of Louis XIV, and the satirical novella Candide. Often at odds with French authorities over his politically and religiously charged works, he was twice imprisoned and spent many years in exile. He died shortly after returning to Paris in 1778.
Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet to a prosperous family on November 21, 1694, in Paris, France. He was the youngest of five children born to François Arouet and Marie Marguerite d’Aumart. When Voltaire was just seven years old, his mother passed away. Following her death, he grew closer to his free-thinking godfather.
In 1704, Voltaire was enrolled at the Collége Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit secondary school in Paris, where he received a classical education and began showing promise as a writer.
Beliefs and Philosophy
Embracing Enlightenment philosophers such as Isaac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon, Voltaire found inspiration in their ideals of a free and liberal society, along with freedom of religion and free commerce.
As a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights, however, Voltaire praised Hinduism, stating Hindus were “[a] peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.”
Voltaire wrote poetry and plays, as well as historical and philosophical works. His most well-known poetry includes The Henriade (1723) and The Maid of Orleans, which he started writing in 1730 but never fully completed.
Among the earliest of Voltaire’s best-known plays is his adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus, which was first performed in 1718. Voltaire followed with a string of dramatic tragedies, including Mariamne (1724). His Zaïre (1732), written in verse, was something of a departure from previous works: Until that point, Voltaire’s tragedies had centered on a fatal flaw in the protagonist’s character; however, the tragedy in Zaïre was the result of circumstance. Following Zaïre, Voltaire continued to write tragic plays, including Mahomet (1736) and Nanine (1749).