Behind a body of work are these:
Relentless daily application
Major and enumerable failure
Unrestrained exploration of diversification
Michaelangelo Buonarroti’s first lesson in art was to create a body of work. Creator of The David, painter of the Sistine Vault, architect of the Dome of St Peter’s; suffice it to say, he succeeded.
The Marble Master of Florence (and eventually Europe and the world) did not let a day go by that he did not realize his discipline, creating works that were never shown and never gained the fame of other pieces (See also the 80/20 Principle).
This daily practice led him to expand into every field of art imaginable from drawing, painting, sculpting and woodwork to roadbuilding, architecture, invention and physics.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about a day of writing, asking “How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it.” The artist realizes the greater importance of work happening in a day over its quality or impressiveness.
Pressfield and Michaelangelo both endowed a body of work to the world, not for the social or financial capital they receive or the legacy they hope to secure, but for the love of their work they experienced everyday.
Irving Stone, The Agony and The Ecstasy.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.
Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle.