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2017 Annual Assessment

Material resources to support creativity by public and private sources is often essential. They are enabling conditions. Money alone cannot produce creativity, but poverty can stifle it. Yet the opposite can be true also. Poverty and want – stress – can also encourage creativity. Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt are two of the greatest painters of all time. Leonardo was rich, funded by kings and popes until the end of his life. He never knew want. Rembrandt, in contrast, did not benefit from his country’s economic “Golden Age” and was never able to husband his resources. Once, he had to sell his belongings to avoid bankruptcy. There is a deep sadness in his late self-portraits that express his life’s miseries. Did poverty damage or enrich his creativity? Apart from money, the promise of fame, the respect of one’s peers and other factors can also encourage creativity. But for policy makers, financial support is the most obvious and direct way to do so.

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