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Quotations about Art


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Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher


Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~Scott Adams


Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. ~Pablo Picasso


Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp


Perfection in art, as often in life, is better captured by eraser than pencil. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. ~William Faulkner


Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. ~Stella Adler


Painting is silent poetry. ~Plutarch, Moralia: How to Study Poetry


Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. ~Leonardo da Vinci


Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 (Chapter XIX, spoken by the character Dirk Stroeve)


Why should you think that beauty is a stone on the beach, for any passerby to pick up? Beauty is something wonderful and strange, that the artist creates in torment, out of chaos. It isn't always easy to recognize at first. For that you must have knowledge, and sensitiveness, and imagination. ~W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) and Albert Lewin, The Moon and Sixpence (film adaptation of Maugham's novel), 1942


It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. ~Kojiro Tomita


Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in. ~Amy Lowell


To send light into the darkness of men's hearts — such is the duty of the artist. ~Schumann


Art is man's challenge to time, his rebuke to chaos; the protest will survive neither the triumph of fire, nor the finality of ice — but it is better than the silence of consent. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer, www.lumpenbangenpiano.com


We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. ~Pablo Picasso


...Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue," in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review (London), January 1889 (Vivian)


I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things. ~Henri Matisse


The artist uses the talent he has, wishing he had more talent. The talent uses the artist it has, wishing it had more artist. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ~Charles Horton Cooley


Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer


To make us feel small in the right way is a function of art; men can only make us feel small in the wrong way. ~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951


Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail. ~Theodore Dreiser, Life, Art, and America, 1917


The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~Paul Strand


All art requires courage. ~Anne Tucker


Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. ~Oscar Wilde


Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. ~Edgar Degas


 
 
It is a mistake for a sculptor or a painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases tension needed for his work. ~Henry Moore


Pictures must not be too picturesque. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better. ~André Gide


Anyone who says you can't see a thought simply doesn't know art. ~Wynetka Ann Reynolds


But that's what being an artist is — feeling crummy before everyone else feels crummy. ~The New Yorker


Art holds fast when all else is lost. ~German Proverb


Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass. ~Fran Lebowitz


Great art picks up where nature ends. ~Marc Chagall


When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college — that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?" ~Howard Ikemoto


Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame. ~G.K. Chesterton


What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit. ~John Updike


There is something ghostly in all great art. ~Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904)  [a.k.a. Koizumi Yakumo —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The artist is the opposite of the politically minded individual, the opposite of the reformer, the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe, he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life. ~Henry Miller


No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. ~Oscar Wilde


Let me ask you something, what is not art? ~Author Unknown


The painter puts brush to canvas, and the poet puts pen to paper. The poet has the easier task, for his pen does not alter his rhyme. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have but that he — for some reason — thinks it would be a good idea to give them. ~Andy Warhol


The buttocks are the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body because they are non-functional. Although they conceal an essential orifice, these pointless globes are as near as the human form can ever come to abstract art. ~Kenneth Tynan


God and other artists are always a little obscure. ~Oscar Wilde


For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh. ~Georges Rouault


Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Once an airy fairy painter painted in the dawn and dew,
Painted in the sultry noontide, painted all the summer through:
Flowers and fields and wondrous woodlands, skies at sunrise and sunset—
And, as true as fairy stories, he is painting somewhere yet!
~"A Little Painter," Wide Awake, August 1885


The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. ~T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919


There is no surer method of evading the world than by following Art, and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by Art. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Art is... a question mark in the minds of those who want to know what's happening. ~Aaron Howard


I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way — things I had no words for. ~Georgia O'Keeffe


Man will begin to recover the moment he takes art as seriously as physics, chemistry or money. ~Ernst Levy


Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea. ~John Anthony Ciardi


As far as I am concerned, a painting speaks for itself. What is the use of giving explanations, when all is said and done? A painter has only one language. ~Pablo Picasso


To us, who live in the nineteenth century, any century is a suitable subject for art except our own. The only beautiful things are things that do not concern us. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue," in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review (London), January 1889 (Vivian)


The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? ~Pablo Picasso


Sometimes, to pursue a new idea, the artist must forfeit his deposit on an old idea. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


I want to reach that condensation of sensations that constitutes a picture. ~Henri Matisse, Notes d'un peintre, 1908


Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness. ~George Jean Nathan, House of Satan


Art is the colors and textures of your imagination. ~Meghan, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


Art is your personal diary where you may color your thoughts and emotions on a page. ~Sara, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


Art is a shadow of what a person is thinking... a small glimpse of what they hold inside. Little secrets, regrets, joys... every line has its own meaning. ~Sarah, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


Art is your emotions flowing in a river of imagination. ~Devin, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


Only an artist with a part of God in him can see beauty in the commonplaces of life. The rest merely mark time until they die. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Art is an adventure that never seems to end. ~Jason, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


Art is pictures straight from the heart. ~Ben, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999


If Michelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been wallpapered. ~Robin Tyler


Art is the triumph over chaos. ~John Cheever


All great art comes from a sense of outrage. ~Glenn Close


Every child is an artist, with imagination and the artistic instinct. Life stamps these out... ~Percy Mackaye, 1915 lecture


It is for every normal human being to be an artist. It is his divine heritage, every child is an artist. Human society kills it in us before we reach maturity. ~Dudley Crafts Watson, 1918


[E]very child is an artist until he's told he's not an artist. ~John Lennon, 1969 interview


Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~Pablo Picasso, quoted in Time, October 1976  [Thanks a million to Garson O'Toole, The Quote Investigator, for his detailed research on the above four child/artist quotations! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Art is indeed not the bread but the wine of life. ~Jean Paul Richter


Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy


Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


One of the best things about paintings is their silence — which prompts reflection and random reverie. ~Mark Stevens


God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things. ~Pablo Picasso


Art should imitate chance. ~Ovid  [Speaking here of women's hair. "There are many women whom hair apparently in disorder suits: it might not have been dressed since yesterday; it has been arranged this very moment." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Art doesn't have to matter to a lot of people to matter a lot. ~Jeb Dickerson, jebdickerson.com


Art hath an enemy called ignorance. ~Ben Jonson


What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art. ~Augustus Saint-Gaudens


Art... does not take kindly to facts, is helpless to grapple with theories, and is killed outright by a sermon. ~Agnes Repplier, Points of View, 1891


Art disturbs, science reassures. ~Georges Braque, Le Jour et la nuit


Artistic truth is for me literally the highest truth: art may seize the essence of persons and movements no less truly, and certainly far more vitally, than a scientific generalization unifies a chaos of phenomena. Time and Space are only the conditions through which spiritual facts struggle. Hence I have here and there permitted myself liberties with these categories. ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "Preface," 1898


As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life. ~John Lubbock


I'll dip my brush into the sunrise, and the sunset, and the rainbow. ~Rudolf Besier, The Barretts of Wimpole Street: A Comedy in Three Acts, 1930 (Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett)


It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man. ~Loren Eiseley, The Night Country, 1971


Art is spirituality in drag. ~Jennifer Yane


The artist's talent sits uneasy as an object of public acclaim, having been so long an object of private despair. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The soul of the artist is oppressed by the atmosphere of the counting-house. ~Franz von Dingelstedt, Die Amazone: Novelle, 1869, translated from German by J.M. Hart


We perceive, in fact, that the only matter upon which any worker, other than the artist, can congratulate himself, whether he be manual-worker, brain-worker, surgeon, judge, or politician, is that he is helping to make the world tolerable for the artist. It is only the artist who will leave anything behind him. He is the fighting-man, the man who counts; the others are merely the Army Service Corps of civilization. ~A.A. Milne, "The Case for the Artist," c.1919  ["By an 'artist' I mean Shakespeare and Me and Bach and Myself and Velasquez and Phidias, and even You if you have ever written four lines on the sunset in somebody's album, or modelled a Noah's Ark for your little boy in plasticine." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul. ~W. Somerset Maugham


Reflexes and instincts are not pretty. It is their decoration that initiates art. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Picasso is not our greatest painter, but he is our greatest artist. He's the great satyr art figure. His whole life is a work of art. ~Leonard Baskin (1922–2000)


Anyone who's making their living from their creativity, you're so emotionally attached to the process that it really does just eat you up completely. ~Hannah Aitchison, LA Ink (season 1, episode 6, original airdate 2007 September 11th)


[S]ometimes, for an artist chronic pain can be a gift. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Diary, 2003


What was any art but a mold in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself — life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose. ~Willa Cather


An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. ~George Santayana


I felt that these pictures had something to say to me that was very important for me to know, but I could not tell what it was.... They gave me an emotion that I could not analyse. They said something that words were powerless to utter. I fancy that Strickland saw vaguely some spiritual meaning in material things that was so strange that he could only suggest it with halting symbols. It was as though he found in the chaos of the universe a new pattern, and were attempting clumsily, with anguish of soul, to set it down. I saw a tormented spirit striving for the release of expression. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919


Art is like a border of flowers along the course of civilization. ~Lincoln Steffens


Pretty much everything inspires me, and it doesn't have to be art specifically, it can just be life — it can just be an experience you have walking down the street, and seeing an old man cross the street and how it makes you feel emotionally. Art is just very emotionally driven for me. I like any art that has soul. ~Kim Saigh, LA Ink, "Kat's Back But Where Is Hannah?" (original airdate 2008 January 8th)


Doing art... anything creative, is just a spiritual thing to do. I almost feel like every comic strip I do is sort of a little prayer. And I really feel like the only thing real is love. ~Patrick McDonnell, "Super Soul Short: Inside the Mind Behind Mutts," Super Soul Sunday (Oprah Winfrey Network), original airdate 2014 April 27th


Art is not a thing; it is a way. ~Elbert Hubbard


The best way to learn about art is to attach yourself to an artist. You've got to be in his studio, in his guts, in his hair, bothering him all the time. ~Leonard Baskin (1922–2000)


An artist's career always begins tomorrow. ~James McNeill Whistler


The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. ~Pablo Picasso


Surely nothing has to listen to so many stupid remarks as a painting in a museum. ~Edmond & Jules de Goncourt


When painting, an artist must take care not to trap his soul in the canvas. ~Terri Guillemets


An artist must be careful not to throw his ideas out with the trash. ~Terri Guillemets


Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere. ~G.K. Chesterton


Artistry is an innate distrust of the theory of reality concocted by the five senses. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world. ~André Malraux


An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it. ~Paul Valéry


Behind unfinished art cries an unfinished artist. ~Terri Guillemets


Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness. The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is. ~Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark, 1915


Sometimes for an artist the only difference between insanity and genius is success. ~Edward Allen Bernero, Criminal Minds, "True Night" (season 3, episode 10), original airdate 2007 November 28th, spoken by the character Dr. Spencer Reid


A subject that is beautiful in itself gives no suggestion to the artist. It lacks imperfection. ~Oscar Wilde


An art critic is someone who appreciates art, except for any particular piece of art. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


An artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture. ~Jean Cocteau, Newsweek, 16 May 1955


The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is. ~Alfred Tonnelle


Art is the struggle to understand. ~Terri Guillemets


A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. ~Albert Camus


For the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how are one. ~William McElcheran


O, how much simpler things would be
If eyes could paint or brush could see.
~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Art is a kind of illness. ~Giacomo Puccini


[T]hey may even be saying that the meat and marrow of art, the painterly core, the life of the pigment, and the world of technique with which hands lay on that pigment are convertible to something other. The ambiguity of meaning in the twentieth century, the hollow in the heart of faith, has become such an obsessional hole that art may have to be converted into intellectual transactions. It is as if we are looking for stuff, any stuff with which to stuff the hole, and will convert every value into packing for this purpose.... Something rabid is loose in the century. Maybe we are not converting art into some comprehension of social process but rather are using art to choke the hole, as if society has become so hopeless, which is to say so twisted in knots of faithless ideological spaghetti, that the glee is in strangling the victims. ~Norman Mailer, c.1974  ["A drawing from Willem de Kooning erased by Robert Rauschenberg" —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


A great artist is always before his time or behind it. ~George Moore


A man and his art are like a fool and his king. ~Terri Guillemets


Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation. ~Henri Cartier-Bresson


A painting is what you make of it, besides which, 'Moon, Weeping' has a better ring to it than 'Paintbrush, Dripping.' ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum. ~Claes Oldenburg


Science is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon eternal truths. Art is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon things beautiful and immortal and ever-changing. To morals belong the lower and less intellectual spheres. ~Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, 1891


While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality... true art lies in a reality that is felt. ~Odilon Redon


The first assumption of an art critic is that the artist meant to paint something else. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. ~Pablo Picasso


If one looks closely enough, one can see angels in every piece of art. ~Terri Guillemets


My inspiration is art... because without art, we would just be stuck with reality. ~Daniel R. Lynch


The question of common sense is always what is it good for? — a question which would abolish the rose and be answered triumphantly by the cabbage. ~James Russell Lowell


...a bourgeois barrenness... depressingly alien from that dainty boudoir atmosphere of the artist-life she knew. ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897


What you often see in a lesser work of art is a subject captured perfectly and never set free. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~Aristotle


Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul — and you answer. ~Terri Guillemets


Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like — then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping. ~Jean Cocteau


His soul palpitating with love of art... ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919  [referring to Dirk Stroeve —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Picasso would give up cubism just to capture your curves. ~Konfal Blyther


Any great work of art... revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world — the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air. ~Leonard Bernstein, What Makes Opera Grand?


Art is art, even when unsuccessful. ~Danish Proverb


[I]t was a hymn to the beauty of the human form... and the praise of Nature, sublime, indifferent, lovely, and cruel. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919


There is in every artist's studio a scrap heap of discarded works in which the artist's discipline prevailed against his imagination. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Art, as far as it is able, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master; thus your art must be, as it were, God's grandchild. ~Dante Alighieri, Inferno


A portrait has one advantage over its original: it is unconscious; and you may therefore admire without insulting it. I have seen portraits which have more. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


The fine arts once divorcing themselves from truth are quite certain to fall mad, if they do not die. ~Thomas Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, no. 8


Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. ~George Bernard Shaw


A man paints with his brains and not with his hands. ~Michelangelo


They tell you that the great painters mixed blood with their pigments. It is not true; the compound used was brains. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid. ~Jules Feiffer


Grandeur is composed of straight lines.
Genteelness and elegance of serpentine lines.
~Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), quoted by James Northcote, 1814


Architecture begins where engineering ends. ~Walter Gropius


Good architecture lets nature in. ~Mario Pei (1901–1978)


Architecture should be dedicated to keeping the outside out and the inside in. ~Leonard Baskin (1922–2000)


Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling. ~G.K. Chesterton


An artist's instinct is more refined than the typical mortal's. ~Terri Guillemets


Why should I paint dead fish, onions and beer glasses? Girls are so much prettier. ~Marie Laurencin


Facts are not merely finding a footing in history, but they are usurping the domain of Fancy, and have invaded the kingdom of Romance. Their chilling touch is over everything. They are vulgarising mankind. The crude commercialism of America, its materialising spirit, its indifference to the poetical side of things, and its lack of imagination and of high, unattainable ideals, are entirely due to that country having adopting for its national hero, a man, who according to his own confession, was incapable of telling a lie, and it is not too much to say that the story of George Washington and the cherry-tree has done more harm, and in a shorter space of time, than any other moral tale in the whole of literature. ~Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue," in The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review (London), January 1889 (Vivian)


Art is Man's nature. Nature is god's art. ~James Bailey


The artist gazes upon a reality and creates his own impression. The viewer gazes upon the impression and creates his own reality. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. ~John Ruskin


Art is the right hand of Nature. The latter has only given us being, the former has made us men. ~Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), Fiesco, translated from German



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