Quotes

Name Source Quote Keywords
Aquinas, St. Thomas “Art is an imitation of nature in her manner of operation.” nature, meaning
Aquinas, St. Thomas Summa Theologica (1265–1274) “Beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that ‘good’ means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the ‘beautiful’ is something pleasant to apprehend.” beauty, aesthetics, good,
Aquinas, St. Thomas  Summa Theologica (1265–1274) “Better to illuminate than merely to shine; to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.” purpose, aim, sharing, audience, viewer, reader
Aristotle “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” representation, aim, purpose,
Aristotle “Art takes nature as its model.” nature
Balzac, Honore de The Unknown Masterpiece “It is not the mission of art to copy nature, but to express it!” nature, expression
Balzac, Honore de The Unknown Masterpiece “Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as drawing! Don’t laugh, young man! Strange as it sounds, you’ll understand the truth of this some day. Line is the means by which man accounts for the effects of light on objects, but in nature there are no lines–in nature everything is continuous and whole. It’s by modeling that we draw, by which I mean that once we detach things from the medium in which they exists, only the distribution of light gives the body appearance.” drawing, line, nature
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “How mysterious is Imagination, that Queen of the Faculties! It touches all the others; it rouses them and sends them into combat.” imagination
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “[Imagination] is both analysis and synthesis.” imagination
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “[Imagination] is the queen of truth, and the POSSIBLE is one of the provinces of truth. It has a positive relationship with the infinite.” imagination
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “A good picture, which is faithful equivalent of the dream which has begotten it, should be brought into being like a world.” unity
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “Imagination. This is the paramount quality for an artist, and no less essential for an art lover…However, strange as it may seem, the great majority of people are devoid of imagination. Not only do they lack the keen, penetrating imagination which would allow them to see objects in a vivid way–which would lead them, as it were, to the very root of things–but they are equally incapable of any clear understanding of works in which imagination predominates.” imagination
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “With an artist, imagination does not merely consist of conjuring up visions of various objects, it combines them for the purpose which he has in mind; it takes picture, images that he arranges as he pleases.” imagination
Baudelaire, Charles Art in Paris, 1845-1865: Salons and Other Exhibitions “These things, because they are false, are infinitely closer to the truth: whereas the majority of our landscape painters are liars, precisely because they have neglected to lie.” truth, landscape
Beecher, Henry Ward “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” soul, human nature, self
Bell, Ralcy Husted The Philosophy of Painting… (1916) “The Tonalist catches the laughter of shimmering light, and transmutes it into pictorial joy; he speaks admirably the old mother-tongue of cloud, tree, pool, and stone; he interprets the spring; he is summer’s scribe, page to the majesty of autumn, and priest to the whole round year. With a simple palette, and as if by magic, he expresses breadth, teasing transparency, mysterious distances, the illusion of luminosity—in a word, the drama of air, light, and colour.” tone, tonalist, color, painting, technique
de Botton, Alainand John Armstrong Art as Therapy (2013) “Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses, in this case of the mind rather than the body, weaknesses that we can refer to as psychological frailties.” use, purpose, lessons, life,
de Botton, Alainand John Armstrong Art as Therapy (2013) “The more difficult our lives, the more a graceful depiction of a flower might move us. The tears – if they come – are in response not to how sad the image is, but how pretty.[…]We should be able to enjoy an ideal image without regarding it as a false picture of how things usually are. A beautiful, though partial, vision can be all the more precious to us because we are so aware of how rarely life satisfies our desires.” hope, lessons, life, use,
de Botton, Alainand John Armstrong Art as Therapy (2013) “One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer more successfully. … We can see a great deal of artistic achievement as “sublimated” sorrow on the part of the artist, and in turn, in its reception, on the part of the audience. The term sublimation derives from chemistry. It names the process by which a solid substance is directly transformed into a gas, without first becoming liquid. In art, sublimation refers to the psychological processes of transformation, in which base and unimpressive experiences are converted into something noble and fine – exactly what may happen when sorrow meets art.”  suffering, pain, lessons, life, use,
de Botton, Alainand John Armstrong Art as Therapy (2013) Few of us are entirely well balanced. Our psychological histories, relationships and working routines mean that our emotions can incline grievously in one direction or another. We may, for example, have a tendency to be too complacent, or too insecure; too trusting, or too suspicious; too serious, or too light-hearted. Art can put us in touch with concentrated doses of our missing dispositions, and thereby restore a measure of equilibrium to our listing inner selves. balance, life, lessons
de Botton, Alainand John Armstrong Art as Therapy (2013) “We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions, all of which resist simple definition. We have moods, but we don’t really know them. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch on to something we have felt but never recognized clearly before. Alexander Pope identified a central function of poetry as taking thoughts we experience half-formed and giving them clear expression: “what was often thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” In other words, a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking, our own experience, is taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before, so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly.” self-understanding, lessons, use, life,
Brancusi “What is real is not the external form, but the essence of things… it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.” reality, exterior, interior, expression, imitation
Buonarroti, Michelangelo “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” brain,
Buonarroti, Michelangelo “A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.” beauty
Buonarroti, Michelangelo As quoted in Happiness Is Everything! (2000) “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” skill, practice,
Buonarroti, Michelangelo “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” perfection,
Cezanne, Paul “Art is a harmony parallel to nature.” nature, meaning
Cezanne, Paul letter in 1905 to Bernard “The Louvre is the book in which we learn to read. We must not, however, be satisfied with retaining the beautiful formulas of our illustrious predecessors. Let us go forth to study beautiful nature, let us try to free our minds from them, let us strive to express ourselves according to our personal temperament.” – Paul Cezanne, letter in 1905 to Bernard nature
Cezanne, Paul “What is one to think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate to nature? Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” nature
Cezanne, Paul “Drawing and colour are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more the colour harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes. “ drawing, color
Cezanne, Paul “To paint is not to copy the object slavishly, it is to grasp a harmony among many relationships. “ relationships
Cezanne, Paul “Literature expresses itself by abstractions, whereas painting, by means of drawing and colour, gives concrete shape to sensations and perceptions.” literature, painting, form, meaning
Cézanne, Paul “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” emotion
Cézanne, Paul “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.” copy, sensations, nature
Cézanne, Paul “What is one to think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate to nature? Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” nature, harmony,
Cézanne, Paul “When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” nature, harmony
Cézanne, Paul “A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.” finish, complete,
Chagall, Marc “Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.” expression, love,
Chagall, Marc “The habit of ignoring Nature is deeply implanted in our times. This attitude reminds me of people who never look you in the eye; I find them disturbing and always have to look away.” nature
Chesterton, G. K. St. Thomas Aquinas “For ‘formal’ in Thomist language means actual, or possessing the real decisive duality that makes a thing itself. Roughly when he describes a thing as made out of a Form and Matter, he very rightly recognizes that Matter is the more mysterious and indefinite and featureless element; and that what stamps anything with its own identity is its Form. Matter, so to speak, is not so much the solid as the liquid or gaseous thing in the cosmos; and in this most modern scientists are beginning to agree with him. But the form is the fact; it is that which makes a brick a brick, and a bust a bust…” form
de Chirico. Giorgio   “To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere.”
immortality, timeless, art, logic, human, limitations
Clark, Kenneth MOTIVES, in Problems of the 19th and 20th centuries: Studies in Western Art “…the arts achieve their effect by a union of form and matter, and the closer the union, the more perfect the work of art.” form, unity
Courbet, Gustave   “I have never seen angels. Show me an angel and I will paint one.” observation, nature, form
Da Vinci, Leonardo “He who despises painting has no love for the philosophy in nature.” nature
Dali, Salvador “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” imitation, nature
David, Jacques-Louis “In the arts the way in which an idea is rendered, and the manner in which it is expressed, is much more important than the idea itself.” idea, render, expression, conceptual
David, Jacques-Louis “To give a body and a perfect form to one’s thought, this – and only this – is to be an artist.” form, body, perfection, thought, artist
DeChirico, Giorgio “To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and commonsense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams.” immortal, logic, eternal
Degas, Edgar “Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” painter, artist,
Degas, Edgar “Painting is easy for those that do not know how, but very difficult for those that do!” painting, painter, artist
Degas, Edgar “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” sharing,
Degas, Edgar “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” meaning
Delacroix, Eugene “Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.” perfection
Delacroix, Eugene “The source of genius is imagination alone, the refinement of the senses that sees what others do not see, or sees them differently.” genius, imagination, senses
Delacroix, Eugène “A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.” meaning, soul, artist
Delacroix, Eugène “The art of the painter is all the nearer to man’s heart because it seems to be more material. In painting, as in external nature, proper justice is done to what is finite and to what is infinite, in other words, to what the soul finds inwardly moving in objects that are known through the senses alone.” meaning, nature, infinite, soul
Delacroix, Eugène “…cold accuracy is not art.” realism
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim at Tinker Creek “Peeping through my keyhole I see within the range of only about thirty percent of the light that comes from the sun; the rest is infrared and some little ultraviolet, perfectly apparent to many animals, but invisible to me. A nightmare network of ganglia, charged and firing without my knowledge, cuts and splices what I do see, editing it for my brain. Donald E. Carr points out that the sense impressions of one-celled animals are NOT edited for the brain: ‘This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way, since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is.’” light, observation
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim at Tinker Creek “Form is condemned to an eternal danse macabre with meaning: I couldn’t unpeach the peaches. Not can I remember ever having seen without understanding; the color-patches of infancy are lost.” form, meaning
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim at Tinker Creek “Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization. Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won’t see it.” observation
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim at Tinker Creek “It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator–our very self-consciousness–is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures.” consciousness
Dillard, Annie Pilgrim at Tinker Creek “Consciousness itself does not hinder living in the present. In fact, it is only to a heightened awareness that the great door to the present opens at all…SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS, however, does hinder the experience of the present. It is the one instrument that unplugs all the rest.” consciousness
Einstein, Albert Letter to Dr. H. L. Gordon (May 3, 1949 – AEA 58-217) “A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.”  intuition, ideas, intellect
Einstein, Albert Introduction to Philosophy (1935) by George Thomas White Patrick and Frank Miller Chapman, p. 44 “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” mystery
Einstein, Albert  Viereck interview (1929) “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” imagination
Eisner, Elliot “Art is literacy of the heart” literacy, language
Eliot, T.S. The Sacred Wood “…if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.” individualism, immortality, tradition
Eliot, T.S. The Sacred Wood “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.” individualism, immortality, tradition
Francis Bacon “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” mystery, artist
Gaugin, Paul “A bit of advice, don’t copy nature too closely. Art is an abstraction; as you dream amid nature, extrapolate art from it and concentrate on what you will create as a result.” nature
Gill, Eric “Art is skill, that is the first meaning of the word.” skill, knowledge
Gilson, Etienne Painting and Reality “As Delacroix saw it…most painters conceive pictures as means of conveying knowledge; so they never tire of explaining, whereas, on the contrary, the privilege of pictures is to enable the mind to speak to mind, ‘and not knowledge.’ In short, a picture is a bridge precisely because it does not teach; it does not explain; it does not talk; it just is one more thing among other things.” meaning, knowledge
Gilson, Etienne Painting and Reality “This passage is a criticism of the notion of “realism” in art, especially in sculpture and painting. By “realism” Delacroix means the servile imitation of reality. Against this attitude, Delacroix maintains: 1. that the starting points of art is imagination, invention; 2. that is invention, or imagination, or “personal feeling”, is the only things that can give unity to a work of art (nature itself has no such unity); 3. that in order to create this unity, the painter must eliminate from his work all that is irrelevant to it: “Personal feeling alone can give unity, and the one way of achieving this is to show only what deserves to be seen.” 4. This systematic elimination of what, because it is irrelevant to the painting in question, does not deserve to be seen is what Delacroix calls “Sacrifice”; in this sense, the need to make sacrifices exactly measures the distance between art and reproduction of physical reality.” realism, unity, nature, feeling, elimination
Gilson, Etienne Painting and Reality “…what the painter is attempting, consciously or not, us to bring to completion the new being to which this art is imparting existence. For him to success is to create such a being, just as not to succeed is a fail to create is. There is no other criterion of success of failure in the art of painting that this golden rule: a painting is good when it actually exists as the fully constituted being that art can make it…” meaning, failure, criticism
Gilson, Etienne Painting and Reality “…a true work of art is a completely self-sufficient system of internal relations regulated by its own law…” meaning, criticism, unity
Goldsworthy, Andy “The essence of drawing is the line exploring space.” drawing, space
Goya, Francisco “But where do they find these lines in nature? I can only see luminous or obscure masses, planes that advance or planes that recede, reliefs or background. My eye never catches lines or details. “ nature, line, drawing, color
Hambidge, Jay The Elements of Dynamic Symmetry “In art the control of reason means the rule of design. Without reason art becomes chaotic. Instinct and feeling must be directed by knowledge and judgment. It is impossible to correlate our artistic efforts with the phenomena of life without knowledge of life’s processes…[the artist] can direct his artistic fate only by learning nature’s ideal and going directly for that as a goal.” reason, design, nature, knowledge
Haring, Keith   “Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.” prehistoric, drawing, timeless, eternal, magic, man, nature
Hawthorne, Charles “Painting is just like making an after-dinner speech. If you want to be remembered, say one thing and stop.” simplicity
Homer, Winslow “There is no such thing as talent. What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way.” talent, work, practice,
Hopper, Edward “No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” imagination, construction,
Hugo, Victor  Les Rayons et les ombres (1840) “Music is the vapor of art. It is to poetry what reverie is to thought, what fluid is to solid, what the ocean of clouds is to the ocean of waves.” music, poetry, thought
Kahlo, Frida “They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality.” reality, surrealism
Kandinsky, Wassily “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.” music, color
Kent, Corita “That’s why people listen to music or look at paintings. To get in touch with that wholeness.” music, painting, whole,
Klee, Paul “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” represent, reproduction, visible
Lethem, Jonathan in conversation with Janna Levin from “The Truth of Fiction” in Science is Culture: Conversations at the New Intersection of Science + Society “For me, the truth is always about this muddying of actuality and metaphor. We live on a mingled plane.”  truth, reality, metaphor
Lopez, Barry Landscape and Narrative “The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes.” landscape, artist
Lopez, Barry Landscape and Narrative “We are accustomed now to thinking of “the truth” as something that can be explicitly stated, rather than as something that can be evoked in a metaphorical way outside science and Occidental culture. Neither can truth be reduced to aphorism or formulas. It is something alive and unpronounceable. Story creates an atmosphere in which it becomes discernible as a pattern. truth
Magritte, Rene “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” mystery, purpose
Maslo, Abraham “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” artist, musician, painter, poet
Matisse, Henri “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.” artist
Matisse, Henri “I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it.” vision, sight, youth, childhood
Matisse, Henri  Interview with Clara T. MacChesney (1912), in Matisse on Art (1995) “I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.” emotion
Matisse, Henri  “Interview with Henri Matisse” by Jacques Guenne, L’Art Vivant (15 September 1925) “Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream which is always inspired by reality.”
nature, expression, dream, reality
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010) “…knowledge can never be inserted into other people in the way that data can be into a computer. If it’s knowledge, not information, that we want, we’ll have to keep struggling for it, and that means that those who purvey it have to wait to be heard.”  knowledge, technology, struggle
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010) “…it is in the nature of poetry to be hidden–as perhaps is all truth.”  poetry, truth
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010) “In any case a metaphor does not have to be new: in fact the best ones never can be. They are like the language of love, as old as the hills and yet fresh with every new lover. The trick of the poet is to make what seemed feeble, old, dead come back to life. True metaphor is a union like love…”  metaphor, novelty, poetry, purpose
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010)  “An excessive fear of being direct, and the worship of the difficult, endemic in Modernism, threaten at times to undermine the direction that poetry inevitably takes, away from what we have to ‘work out’ for ourselves toward what we knew already, but in fact never understood. In poetry, being simple takes more skill than being difficult. It comes back to a fundamental distinction between newness and novelty…poetry need not seek novelty, because true poetry makes what had seemed familiar new.”  Modernism, struggle, audience, skill, simplicity, abstraction, novelty, poetry,
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010)  “…loss of perspective destroys depth, and therefore to a large extent our felt connectedness with what it is we are viewing.”  perspective, depth, connection, relationship, audience
McGilchrist, Iain “This Is Your Brain On Poetry”, Interview with Ange Mlinko (2010) “…the tension between life and the resistance to life…makes creation possible.”  creativity, life, struggle
Merton, Thomas “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” artist, discovery
Miller, Henry Henry Miller on Writing (1964) “Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant.” life, significance
Miller, Henry Henry Miller on Writing (1964) “The truly great writer does not want to write. He wants the world to be a place in which he can live the life of the imagination.” writing, imagination, purpose, aim
Miro, Joan “Joan Miro: Selected Writings and Interviews”, M.Rowell, Thames and Hudson, 1987 “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” color, poetry, music
Monet, Claude “Do you really think that the excitement and ecstasy with which I express and fulfill my passion for nature simply leads to a fairyland? People who hold forth on my painting conclude that I have arrived at the ultimate degree of abstraction and imagination that relates to reality. I should much prefer to have them acknowledge what is given: the total self-surrender…The richness I achieve comes from nature, the course of my inspiration. Perhaps my originality boils down to my capacity as a hypersensitive receptor.” nature
Monet, Claude “If you absolutely must find an affiliation for me, select the Japanese of olden times; their rarified taste has always appealed to me; and I sanction the implication of their aesthetic that evokes a presence by means of a shadow and the whole by means of fragment…” japan, unity
Nevelson, Louise Dawns and Dusks: Taped Conversations With Diana MacKown, by Louise Nevelson (1976) “Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.” creativity, Nature
Nolde, Emil “The artist need not know very much; best of all let him work instinctively and paint as naturally as he breathes or walks. instincts, natural, artist
O’Connor, Flannery The Nature and Aim of Fiction “Many students confuse the process of understanding a thing with understanding it.” understanding, critique
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “A story always involves, in a dramatic way, the mystery of personality.” mystery, writing
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing. For the writer of fiction, everything has its testing point in the eye, and the eye is an organ that eventually involves the whole personality, and as much of the world as can be got into it.” observation, personality, writing
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “The fiction writer has to realize that he can’t create compassion with compassion, or emotion with emotion, or thought with thought. He has to provide all these things with a body; he has to create a world with weight and extension.” unity, writing
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “I have found that the stories of beginning writers usually bristle with emotions, but WHOSE emotion is often very hard to determine…The reason is usually that the student is wholly interested in his thoughts and his emotions and not in his dramatic action, and that he is too lazy or highfalutin to descend to the concrete where fiction operates.” emotion, writing
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “Art is selective. What is there is essential and creates movement.” movement
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “When you can state the theme of a story, when you can separate it from the story itself, then you can be sure the story is not a very good one. The meaning of the story has to be embodied in it, has to be made concrete with it.” theme, planning
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” unity
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “The particular problem of the short-story writer is how to make the action he describes reveal as much of the mystery of existence as possible.” mystery, writing
O’Connor, Flannery Writing Short Stories “A story is good when you continue to see more and more in it, and when it continues to escape you.” mystery, critique, writing
O’Keeffe, Georgia “To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.” courage,
O’Keeffe, Georgia “Still – in a way – nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” time, study,
O’Keeffe, Georgia “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things I had no words for.” words, color, shapes,
Pater, Walter “The ideal examples of poetry and painting are those in which the constituent elements of the composition are so welded together that the material or subject no longer strikes the intellect only; nor the form, the eye or the ear only; but form and matter, in their union or identity, present one single effect to the ‘imaginative reason,’ that complex faculty for which every thought and feeling is twin-born with its sensible analogue or symbol.” unity, composition, imagination
Pater, Walter “[Raphael’s MADONNA DEL GRANDUCA is] perhaps the loveliest of all Madonnas…it is like a single, simple, axiomatic thought.” unity
Picasso, Pablo “Art is a lie that helps us to realize the truth.” truth
Picasso, Pablo “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” soul, life,
Pissarro, Camille “The eye should not be fixed on one point but should note everything, and in doing so observe the reflections which colours cast on their surroundings.” observation, color
Pissarro, Camille “Accurate drawing is dry and destroys the impression of the whole, it annihilates all sensation. Do not make the bounding lines of things too definite; the brush stroke, the right shade of colour and the right degree of brightness ought to create the drawing. With a mass, the greatest difficulty is not to give it an accurate outline, but to paint what is to be found within it. Paint the essential character of things, try to express it with any kind of means you like and do not worry about technique.” drawing, line, nature, technique
Rembrandt van Rijn “Contours should be drawn, not in a continuing manner, but rather fragment by fragment, with a lightness of hand, that the object be not closed but open to the light that it may breathe in the enveloping atmosphere.” line, drawing
Renoir, Auguste “One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.” limits, capability
Reynolds, Sir Joshua Discourse no. 3, delivered on December 14, 1770; vol. 1, p. 52. “A mere copier of nature can never produce any thing great, can never raise and enlarge the conceptions, or warm the heart of the spectator.” copy, nature, viewer, audience, aim,
Rilke, Rainer Maria Worpswede “And the whole of humanity comes nearer to Nature in these isolated and lonely [artists]. It is not the least and is, perhaps, the peculiar value of art, that it is the medium in which man and landscape, form and world, meet and find one another. In actuality they live beside one another, scarcely knowing aught of one another, and in the picture, the piece of architecture, the symphony, in a word, in art, they seem to come together in higher, prophetic truth, to rely upon one another, and it is as if, by completing one another, they became that perfect unity, which is the very essence of the work of art.” nature, humanity
Rodin, Auguste “Art is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated. contemplation, nature, spirit,
Rumi, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” observation, perception, simplicity
Rumi, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad   “The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” knowledge, filter, choice, exclusion
Rumi, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Masnavi, Book IV, Story II, as translated by Edward Henry Whinfield (1898) “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”  awe, inspiration, artist, motif, meaning
Schopenhauer, Arthur On The Freedom Of The Will (1839), as translated in The Philosophy of American History : The Historical Field Theory (1945) “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.” will, goals, control,
Schopenhauer, Arthur The World as Will and Idea (1909) “…[the artist] has reproduced in his work the pure idea, has abstracted it from the actual, omitting all disturbing accidents. The artist lets us see the world through his eyes. That he has these eyes, that he knows the inner nature of things apart from all their relations, is the gift of genius…” artist, idea, genius, creation,
Schopenhauer, Arthur The World as Will and Idea (1909) “Whenever [artistic objectivity] discloses itself suddenly to our view, it almost always succeeds in delivering us, though it may be only for a moment, from subjectivity, from the slavery of the will, and in raising us to the state of pure knowing. This is why the man who is tormented by passion, or want, or care, is so suddenly revived, cheered, and restored by a single free glance into nature: the storm of passion, the pressure of desire and fear, and all the miseries of willing are then at once, and in a marvelous manner, calmed and appeased…The freeing of knowledge lifts us as wholly and entirely away from all that, as do sleep and dreams; happiness and unhappiness have disappeared; we are no longer individual; the individual is forgotten; we are only pure subject of knowledge; we are only that one eye of the world which looks out from all knowing creatures, but which can become perfectly free from the service of will in man alone.” loneliness, will, objective, viewer
Schopenhauer, Arthur The World as Will and Idea (1909) “Therefore it is that man is more beautiful than all other objects, and the revelation of his nature is the highest aim of art.” aim, purpose, man
Shapiro, Dani Still writing: the pleasures and perils of a creative life (2013) “Everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write.” writing, artist, author, life, lessons, purpose,
Shapiro, Dani Still writing: the pleasures and perils of a creative life (2013) “When I wasn’t writing, I was reading. And when I wasn’t writing or reading, I was staring out the window, lost in thought. Life was elsewhere – I was sure of it—and writing was what took me there. In my notebooks, I escaped an unhappy and lonely childhood. I tried to make sense of myself. I had no intention of becoming a writer. I didn’t know that becoming a writer was possible. Still, writing was what saved me. It presented me with a window into the infinite. It allowed me to create order out of chaos.” writing, artist, author, life, lessons, purpose,
Sills, Beverly “Art is the signature of civilizations.” history, society, mankind
Simonides “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” poetry, painting,
Spencer, Herbert   “The Origin and Function of Music.” (Frazer’s Magazine, October, 1857.) “Probably most will think that the function here assigned to music is one of very little moment. But further reflection may lead them to a contrary conviction. In its bearings upon human happiness we believe that this emotional language, which musical culture develops and refines, is only second in importance to the language of the intellect; perhaps not even second to it. For these modifications of voice produced by feelings, are the means of exciting like feelings in others. Joined with gestures and expressions of face, they give life to the other dead words in which the intellect utters its ideas; and so enable the hearer not only to understand the state of mind they accompany, but to partake of that state. In short, they are the chief media of sympathy. And if we consider how much our general welfare and our immediate pleasures depend upon sympathy, we shall recognize the importance of whatever makes this sympathy greater. If we bear in mind that by their fellow-feeling men are led to behave justly, kindly and considerately to each other — that the difference between the cruelty of the barbarous and the humanity of the civilized results from the increase of fellow-feeling; if we bear in mind that this faculty which makes us sharers in the joys and sorrows of others is the basis of all the higher affections — that in friendship, love and all domestic pleasures it is an essential element; if we bear in mind how much our direct gratifications are intensified by sympathy — how, at the theater, the concert, the picture gallery, we lose half our enjoyment if we have no one to enjoy with us; if, in short, we bear in mind that for all happiness beyond what the unfriended recluse can have, we are indebted to this same sympathy; — we shall see that the agencies which communicate it can scarcely be overrated in value.”
music, meaning,
Stella, Frank “You see what you know!” sight, vision
Thoreau, Henry David in a letter to Emerson “In writing, conversation should be folded many times thick. It is the height of art that, on the first perusal, plain common sense should appear; on the second, severe truth; and on a third, beauty; and, having these warrants for its depth and reality, we enjoy the beauty for evermore.” truth, beauty
Tolstoy, Leo “What Is Art? “I have mentioned three conditions of contagiousness in art, but they may be all summed up into one, the last, sincerity, i.e., that the artist should be impelled by an inner need to express his feeling. That condition includes the first; for if the artist is sincere he will express the feeling as he experienced it. And as each man is different from everyone else, his feeling will be individual for everyone else; and the more individual it is – the more the artist has drawn it from the depths of his nature – the more sympathetic and sincere will it be. And this same sincerity will impel the artist to find a clear expression of the feeling which he wishes to transmit.” feeling, expression, individualism
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri “In our time there are many artists who go for novelty, and see their value and justification in novelty; but they are wrong –] …novelty is hardly ever important. What matters is always just the one thing: to penetrate to the very heart of a thing, and create it better.” novelty
Twain, Mark The Mysterious Stranger (1916) “An ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music, and one cannot tell about music so that another person can get the feeling of it. “ music, feeling, expression,
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Theo van Gogh. Arles, Monday, 3 September 1888. “As a suffering creature, I cannot do without something greater than I –something that is my life — the power to create.” creation
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Theo van Gogh. The Hague, on or about Friday, 21 July 1882. “It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.” nature, reality,
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Theo van Gogh. The Hague, on or about Friday, 21 July 1882. “I want to reach the point where people say of my work, that man feels deeply and that man feels subtly.” effect, viewers
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Theo van Gogh. Nuenen, on or about Wednesday, 28 October 1885. “…one loses that general harmony of tones in nature by painfully exact imitation; one keeps it by recreating in a parallel color scale which may by not exactly, or even far from exactly, like the model.” nature, color
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Emile Bernard. Arles, on or about Friday, 5 October 1888. “But in the meantime I’m still living off the real world. I exaggerate, I sometimes make changes to the subject, but still I don’t invent the whole of the painting; on the contrary, I find it ready-made — but to be untangled — in the real world.” nature, choice,
Van Gogh, Vincent Letter to Theo van Gogh. Arles, Saturday, 8 September 1888. “I often think the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” night, darkness, color
Vasari, Giorgio “Inspiration demands the active cooperation of the intellect joined with enthusiasm, and it is under such conditions that marvelous conceptions, with all that is excellent and divine, come into being.” inspiration, intellect, divine, enthusiasm
da Vinci, Leonardo “Art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” science, knowledge, history,
da Vinci, Leonardo “The color of the object illuminated partakes of the color of that which illuminates it.” color
da Vinci, Leonardo “Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” soul, spirit
da Vinci, Leonardo “A good painter has two main objects to paint, man and the intention of his soul. The former is easy, the latter hard as he has to represent it by the attitude and movement of the limbs.” intention, subject, representation,
Whedon, Joss All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you. Interpretation, life,
Whistler, James McNeil “As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of color.” music, sight, painting, harmony, relationships, color,
Wilde, Oscar Lecture at the Royal Academy in Westminster, England, on June 30, 1883 “And so it comes that he who seems to stand more remote from his age is he who mirrors it best, because he has stripped like of that mist of familiarity, which…makes life obscure to us” timeless, universal
Wilde, Oscar Lecture at the Royal Academy in Westminster, England, on June 30, 1884 “All good art…has nothing to do with any particular century; but this universality is the quality of the work of art; the conditions that produce that quality are different. And what, I think, you should do is to realise completely your age in order completely to abstract yourself from it.” universal
Woolf, Virginia BBC radio broadcast on April 29th, 1937 “Perhaps that is [the] most striking peculiarity [of words] — their need of change. It is because the truth they try to catch is many-sided, and they convey it by being themselves many-sided, flashing this way, then that.” words, language
Woolf, Virginia A Room of One’s Own “Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.” literature, fiction, life
Wright, Frank Lloyd “You can’t make an architect. But you can open the doors and windows toward the light as you see it.” architect, inspiration,
Yeats, William Butler “Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead.” truth, individualism
Zola, Emile “I am an artist… I am here to live out loud.” artist

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