Cervantes' reader is idle, desocupado, one who is not occupied, has nothing better to do. Unlike the listener to Homer or the reader of Dante, who listens or reads so as to have reaffirmed the order of things, how things are, this reader is imagined as turning the pages of a printed book in the solitude of his or her own room, simply in order to pass the time. And the author too, though he would like to be the inspired spokesman of the community, recognises that he is only a solitary individual, 'filled with inconstant thoughts never imagined by anyone else', and therefore with no authority for what he says and no access to the truth or to a Muse who would herself have access to it. In such a situation the worst possible thing would be to imagine or pretend that he did; his only hope is to accept that this is the way things are and to make the best of them. In that way, perhaps, he may become the spokesman for a new community of solitary individuals.
--Gabriel Josipovici on the preface to Don Quixote, in What Ever Happened to Modernism? (Yale UP, 2011), p.29.
"You know, when Picasso and I were close, there was a moment when we had trouble recognising our own canvases... I reckoned the personality of the painter ought not to intervene and therefore the pictures ought to be anonymous. It was I who decided we should not sign our canvases and Picasso followed suit for a while. The moment someone could do the same thing as I did, I thought there was no difference between pictures and they should not be signed. Afterwards I understood that all that was untrue..." "People didn't understand very well at the time why very often we didn't sign our canvases. [This is Picasso in Françoise Gilot's recollection.] It was because we felt the temptation, the hope, of an anonymous art, not in its expression but in its point of departure. We were trying to set up a new order and it had to express itself through different individuals. Nobody needed to know that it was so-and-so who had done this or that painting. But individualism was already too strong and that resulted in a failure... As soon as we saw that the collective adventure was a lost cause, each one of us had to find an individual adventure. And the individual adventure always goes back to the one which is the archetype of our times: that is, van Gogh's — an essentially solitary and tragic adventure."
--recollections by Braque & Picasso, compiled in T.J. Clark's Farewell to an Idea (Yale UP, 1999), p.222.