Originally Posted by MountainSong
Perhaps I should add, that art is a visual language, therefore the more languages we understand the more we are put into a position to develop our own unique language. Thatís why retrospectives are so interesting. It seems like it takes most artists 20-25 years to learn to speak in their own voice, up to that point it is exploring the arts through others languages who have gone before. Few artists have ever been prodigyís who popped out Year Two with anything interesting to say, also one must live long enough to have something interesting to say and have developed the tools and nuances to say it when the time comes.
Through time, studying and doing we learn to speak the visual language with finite articulation and eloquence.
Your second sentence seems to argue against your whole thesis and in favor of mine. Perhaps if people were not educated with this philosophy of being 'well-rounded' and the expectation of revereing and knowing in detail the work of so many who came before, they would not get bogged down speaking in someone else's language for so many years.
As for your language analogy itself, I'm not sure it necessarily argues the thesis either. Does one really need to learn foreign languages in order to write well in english?
Even when it comes to writing english, a huge counter-example comes to mind in the form of Mark Twain. He certainly read quite a lot, but mostly newspapers and whatever he pleased from libraries - he did not extensively study the entire lexicon of 'English Literature' of the time, and did not study foreign languages. He developed his craft writing about what he knew, about things from his own life - mostly in the form of newspaper stories at first, but his approach even to those was wildly idiosyncratic. He never had a whit of reverence those considered masters in his day, or for any established rules about how or what to write. He worked from his imagination and from what he thought was the correct rendering of good english and dialects according to his judgement. He is now widely considered to have 'invented' American Literature.