The irrational bears the same relation to the rational that the unknown bears to the known. In an age as harsh as it is intelligent, phrases about the unknown are quickly dismissed. I do not for a moment mean to indulge in mystical rhetoric, since, for my part, I have no patience with that sort of thing. That the unknown as the source of knowledge, as the object of thought, is part of the dynamics of the known does not permit of denial… . We accept the unknown even when we are most skeptical. We may resent the consideration of it by any except the most lucid mind; but when so considered, it has seductions more powerful and more profound than those of the known.
—Wallace Stevens, circa 1937

What was the nature of the quest that moved the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) to abandon the representation...

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