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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

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

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

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, www.howtomatter.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

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

Coloring outside the lines is a fine art. ~Kim Nance

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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