Why does society not encourage the profession of an artist? What’s the core issue? Why is it frowned upon traditionally speaking? These are tough questions that need to be answered.
The very simplistic answer to this very deep-sounding question is money and Job security.
Doctors. Lawyers and Engineers were the most sought-after professions in India because they guarantee a minimum status and financial stability. See, even Francis Ford Coppola was in deep debt when he made Godfather III. He won so many academy awards, and created a cinematic masterpiece but was challenged financially. So was Rembrandt. He was the best portrait painter of Europe who got into hole and had a tough time coming out of it. Van Gogh sold almost no paintings. He was funded by his brother, and he killed himself and got made due to this self-loathing. When you have these star artists suffering like no other profession, then why would in their right mind hold their profession in high esteem? To every successful artist, there are tens of thousands who totally fail to make a mark. It is a profession with a lot of uncertainty and scares a lot of potential artists to venture into it.
In the image is the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer called the Girl with the Pearl Ear Ring juxtaposed with the portrait of the artist. This painting inspired a Novel of the same name written by Tracy Chevalier in 1999 – a fictional account of the 17th-century Dutch painter Vermeer, and his maid who modeled for the painting in the story. Four years later a drama film was released based on the novel and catapulted the fame of the artist and painting to an iconic level.
What was so enigmatic about this string of creations involving different genres and art forms to tell the single story of a girl with the pearl earring.