Art Quotations ♠ ©winnie caw 2002
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The Venus de Milo is a good example of what happens to somebody who won't stop biting her fingernails.

~ Will Rogers

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It's God - I recognised him from Blake's picture.

~ Robert Frost

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If more than ten per cent of the population likes a painting, it should be burned, for it must be bad.

~ George Bernard Shaw

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I don't own any of my own paintings because a Picasso original costs several thousand dollars and that's a luxury I cannot afford.

~ Pablo Picasso

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Immature artists imitate, mature artists steal.

~ Lionel Trilling

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Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

~ T S Eliot, 'The Sacred Wood', 1920

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The murals in restaurants are about on a par with the food in art galleries. 

~ Peter DeVries

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Edith Sitwell's interest in art was largely confined to portraits of herself.

~ John Fowles

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A vandal is someone who throws a brick through a window.
An artist is somebody who paints a picture on that window.
A great artist is somebody who paints a picture on the window and then throws a brick through it.

~ A-One - Graffiti artist

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There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.

~ Charles Dickens, 'Nicholas Nickleby', 1839

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Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

~ Tom Stoppard, 'Artist Descending a Staircase', 1972

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It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.

~ James Joyce, 'Ulysses', 1922

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I doubt that art needed Ruskin any more than a moving train needs one of its passengers to shove it.

~ Tom Stoppard

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Art, like morality, consists in drawing a line somewhere.

~ Gilbert Chesterton

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Art is a jealous mistress and if a man has a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

~ André Gide

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Anybody who paints and sees a sky green and pastures blue ought to be sterilised.

~ Adolph Hitler

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A work of art has an author and yet, when it is perfect, it has something which is anonymous about it.

~ Simone Weil

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The people who make art their business are mostly imposters.

~ Pablo Picasso

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There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.

~ Pablo Picasso

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We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand.

~ Pablo Picasso

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Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

~ Oscar Wilde

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

~ Oscar Wilde

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Bad artists always admire each other's work.

~ Oscar Wilde

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The rule in the art world is: you cater to the masses or you kowtow to the elite; you can't have both.

~ Ben Hecht

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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.

~ Simonides (6th - 5th Century BC)

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[Art is] the reasoned derangement of the senses.

~ Kenneth Rexroth

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Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can have spiritual meaning.

~ Walter Gropius

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Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

~ George Bernard Shaw

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Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.

~ Frank Zappa

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Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.  

~ Henry Ward Beecher

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

~ Scott Adams

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Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.  

~ Pablo Picasso

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

~ Twyla Tharp

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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

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Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.  

~ Pablo Picasso

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

~ Stella Adler

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Painting is silent poetry.  

~ Plutarch, Moralia: How to Study Poetry

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Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.  

~ Leonardo da Vinci

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

~ Kojiro Tomita

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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

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

~ Schumann

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I don't paint things.  I only paint the difference between things.  

~ Henri Matisse

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An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.  

~ Charles Horton Cooley

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Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.  

~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

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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

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Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.  

~ Theodore Dreiser, Life, Art, and America, 1917

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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

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All art requires courage.  

~ Anne Tucker

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

~ Oscar Wilde

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

~ Edgar Degas

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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

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Pictures must not be too picturesque.  

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

~ André Gide

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Anyone who says you can't see a thought simply doesn't know art.  

~ Wynetka Ann Reynolds

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But that's what being an artist is - feeling crummy before everyone else feels crummy.  

~ The New Yorker

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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

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Great art picks up where nature ends.  

~ Marc Chagall

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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

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Art consists of limitation.  The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.  

~ G.K. Chesterton

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What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit.  

~ John Updike

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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

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Let me ask you something, what is not art?  

~ Unknown

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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

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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

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God and other artists are always a little obscure.  

~ Oscar Wilde

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

~ Georges Rouault

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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

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The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. 

~ T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919

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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

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

~ Aaron Howard

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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

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

~ Ernst Levy

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

~ John Anthony Ciardi

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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

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

~ Pablo Picasso

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I want to reach that condensation of sensations that constitutes a picture.  

~ Henri Matisse, Notes d'un peintre, 1908

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

~ Robin Tyler

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Art is the triumph over chaos.  

~ John Cheever

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All great art comes from a sense of outrage.  

~ Glenn Close

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Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do.  Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom.  

~ Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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One of the best things about paintings is their silence - which prompts reflection and random reverie.  

~ Mark Stevens

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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

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What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.  

~ Augustus Saint-Gaudens

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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

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Art disturbs, science reassures.  

~ Georges Braque, Le Jour et la nuit

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

~ John Lubbock

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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

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Art is spirituality in drag.  

~ Jennifer Yane

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What was any art but a mould 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

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

~ George Santayana

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Art is not a thing; it is a way.  

~ Elbert Hubbard

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

~ Lincoln Steffens

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An artist's career always begins tomorrow.  

~ James McNeill Whistler

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Surely nothing has to listen to so many stupid remarks as a painting in a museum.  

~ Edmond & Jules de Goncourt

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Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.  

~ G.K. Chesterton

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

~ André Malraux

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

~ Paul Valéry

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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

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

~ Oscar Wilde

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An artist cannot talk about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.  

~ Jean Cocteau, Newsweek, 16 May 1955

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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

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

~ William McElcheran

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

~ George Moore

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

~ Claes Oldenburg

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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

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

~ Odilon Redon

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

~ Aristotle

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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?

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Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.  

~ George Bernard Shaw

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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

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

~ Marie Laurencin

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Art is Man's nature.  Nature is god's art.  

~ James Bailey

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

~ John Ruskin

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Trying to understand modern art is like trying to follow the plot in a bowl of alphabet soup.

~ Anon

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It is gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art.

~ Anon

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