“One clashes with stupidity of all kinds. And then how much money must be spent in advance! The way in which artists are treated is really scandalous. I am compelled to give a third of my receipts to the manager of the theatre and a fifth to the hospitals. Devil take them! As long as these abuses exist, I shall always ask whether music is or is not an art that may be freely exercised. Believe me, there is nothing to be done for artists in times like these” — Ludwig van Beethoven
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In this quote, Ludwig van Beethoven is expressing frustration with the financial challenges and lack of support faced by artists at the time. He complains that he has to spend a great deal of money upfront, and then is forced to give a third of his earnings to the theatre manager and a fifth to hospitals, leaving little for himself as the artist.
Beethoven views this as an “abuse” of artists. He questions whether music can truly be freely practiced as an art form when artists have to deal with these kinds of monetary burdens. The quote conveys Beethoven’s sentiment that in such a system that does not adequately value or compensate creators, it will be difficult for art to thrive. He seems to believe artists deserve better treatment and financial conditions for their work.