A common conception is that human creativity, particularly artistic creativity, will flourish only under conditions of unbridled freedom. Limitations and inhibitions of any sort—goes this line of thinking—are anathema to art.
The history of man’s attempt to evoke beauty and meaning with the materials of life has shown the very opposite to be the case: that “oppressive” circumstances have stimulated humanity’s most profound and innovative creations, while conditions of unmitigated freedom yield lesser and shallower works. Indeed, working within bonds is intrinsic to the process and product of artistic creation: the challenge to reduce a landscape or personality to a two-dimensional surface of limited size is what makes a great painting; the need to express a thought or feeling with a limited number of words arranged in accordance with rigid laws of meter and rhyme is what makes a great poem. The very essence of art, it can be said, flows from the tension between the expanse-seeking spirit of the artist and the constraints of the medium and circumstances by and under which it expresses itself.
Agree or disagree?