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Art Quotes


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The learned understand the reason of art; the unlearned feel the pleasure.

The love of all-inclusiveness is as dangerous in philosophy as in art.

The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art.

The mission of art is to represent nature not to imitate her.

The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist.

The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you.

The momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.

The more horrifying this world becomes, the more art becomes abstract.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and 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. ... To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

The most profound things are inexpressible.

The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.

The mother of the useful art, is necessity; that of the fine arts, is luxury. - the former have intellect for their father; the latter, genius, which itself is kind of luxury.

The names of great painters are like passing bells. - In Velasquez you hear sounded the fall of Spain; in Titian, that of Venice; in Leonardo, that of Milan; in Raphael, that of Rome. - And there is profound justice in this; for in proportion to the nobleness of power is the guilt of its use for purposes vain or vile; and hitherto the greater the art the more surely has it been used, and used solely, for the decoration of pride, or the provoking of sensuality.

The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.

The object of art is to give life a shape.

The only honest art form is laughter, comedy. You can't fake it... try to fake three laughs in an hour - ha ha ha ha ha - they'll take you away, man. You can't.

The ordinary true, or purely real, cannot be the object of the arts. - Illusion on a ground of truth, that is the secret of the fine arts.

The painter is, as to the execution of his work, a mechanic; but as to his conception and spirit and design he is hardly below even the poet.

The painter is, as to the execution of his work, a mechanic; but as to his conception, his spirit, and design, he is hardly below even the poet in liberal art.

The people who make art their business are mostly imposters.


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