"Almost universal is the outcry raised by artists nowadays against the damage that the [French] Revolution has occasioned them. It is not the battles of the 'barricades,' not the sudden mighty shattering of the pillars of the State, not the hasty change of Governments,-- that is bewailed; for the impression left behind by such capital events as these, is for the most part disproportionately fleeting, and short-lived in its violence. But it is the protracted character of the latest convulsions that is so mortally affecting the artistic efforts of the day. The hitherto-recognized foundations of industry, of commerce, and of wealth, are now threatened; and though tranquility has been outwardly restored, and the general physiognomy of social life completely re-established, yet there gnaws at the entrails of this life a carking care, an agonizing distress. Reluctance to embark in fresh undertakings, is maiming credit; he who wishes to preserve what he has, declines the prospect of uncertain gain; industry is at a standstill, and -- Art has no longer the wherewithal to live....Yet Art remains in its essence what it ever was; we have only to say, that it is not present in our modern public system. It lives, however, and has ever lived in the individual conscience, as the one fair, indivisible Art. Thus the only difference is this: with the [ancient] Greeks it lived in the public conscience, whereas today it lives alone in the conscience of private persons, the public un-conscience recking nothing of it. Therefore in its flowering time the Grecian Art was conservative, because it was a worthy and adequate expression of the public conscience: with us, true Art is revolutionary, because its very existence is opposed to the ruling spirit of the community."
-Richard Wagner, 1849
Jean Anouilh (1910-1987)