School Subject Quotes


School Subjects Quotes


[Take the opportunity to review and access Dan L. Miller’s Complete Works at: Dan L. Miller’s Works]

In this School Subject Quotes section I provide a comprehensive collection of interesting, thought-provoking, and useful quotations, covering all school subjects, most appropriate for use by students, writers, classroom teachers, and professors. In addition to the wisdom and guidance quotes provide, the quotations are perfectly suited for use in displays, presentations, speeches, research, students’ papers, and classroom lessons and discussions. On this page I display quotations on Art. I also provide PDFs of the most interesting, thought-provoking, and useful quotations devoted to the topics of ActivitiesAgriculture, Architecture, Business Education, Career Education (Work), Civics, Computer EducationDriver’s Education, Economics, Engineering, Family and Consumer ScienceForeign Language, Geography, Health, History, Holidays, Industrial Arts & Technology, Math, Music, Philosophy, Physical Education & Athletics, Political Science, Psychology, Research, SafetyScience, Seasons, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. I have collected quotations most of my life from many sources. This collection of quotations is unique in that I’ve chosen only quotes that are pertinent and straightforward. I’ve included classic quotations, but I’ve also used many quotations taken directly from primary sources, and I’ve purposely integrated numerous quotes from women and minorities. This educational website is a unique collection in that many of the quotations will be found in no other compilation. Also, the collection is voluminous. It is one of the largest presentations of subject area quotations in existence intended specifically for use by students, writers, classroom teachers, college professors, and other educators.

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Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face; the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited; and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.

–Edward Steichen

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

–Lincoln Steffens

Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.

–Henry Miller

Art is nothing more than the shadow of humanity.

–Henry James

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

–Henry Ward Beecher

If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.

–Edward Hopper

Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don’t they try to understand the singing of birds? People love the night, a flower, everything that surrounds them without trying to understand them. But painting—that they must understand.

–Pablo Picasso

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.

–Diane Arbus

More astonishing to me than any technological achievement is the simple fact that a human hand holding a pencil or a brush can render in a few lines or washes of color a state of feeling, an insight, layers of history.

–Susan Griffin

[Portraits] Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?

—Pablo Picasso

Opinion on abstract art is divided: some people think it’s a waste of time, while others think it’s a waste of paint.


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

—Pablo Picasso

Color in a picture is like the enthusiasm in life.

–Vincent Van Gogh

Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.

–Eudora Welty

As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.

–Sam Abell

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

–Pablo Picasso

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

–Frida Kahlo

No one begins a career in dance dwelling on thoughts of how difficult, painful and short it might be. But the truth is, dance demands discipline, sacrifice and suffering. Our bodies are the stuff of which this art is made, our dreams and desires given physical form. In dance there is nowhere to hide. The delicate work of revealing ourselves is undertaken with great courage and care….it also takes love, lots of love. And if you don’t love dance, don’t do it. It’s just too hard. And yet, so often when we witness wonderful dance, they make it look so easy….Every time we set foot on stage we risk disappointment and disaster but also elation and transcendence.

—Donna Feore

I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don’t.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.

—Antonio Porchia

Blessed are the weird people poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.

—Jacob Nordby

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced

—Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh became a painter because he had no ear for music.

—Nikki Harris

The biggest spur to my interest in art came when I played van Gogh in the biographical film Lust For Life. The role affected me deeply. I was haunted by this talented genius who took his own life, thinking he was a failure. How terrible to paint pictures and feel that no one wants them. How awful it would be to write music that no one wants to hear. Books that no one wants to read. And how would you like to be an actor with no part to play, and no audience to watch you. Poor Vincent—he wrestled with his soul in the wheat field of Auvers-sur-Oise, stacks of his unsold paintings collecting dust in his brother’s house. It was all too much for him, and he pulled the trigger and ended it all. My heart ached for van Gogh the afternoon that I played that scene. As I write this, I look up at a poster of his ‘Irises’—a poster from the Getty Museum. It’s a beautiful piece of art with one white iris sticking up among a field of blue ones. They paid a fortune for it, reportedly $53 million. And poor Vincent, in his lifetime, sold only one painting for 400 francs or $80 dollars today. This is what stimulated my interest in buying works of art from living artists. I want them to know while they are alive that I enjoy their paintings hanging on my walls, or their sculptures decorating my garden

—Kirk Douglas

Computers don’t create computer animation any more than a pencil creates pencil animation. What creates computer animation is the artist.

—John Lasseter

When I speak to students and they ask how much money you can make in art, as if that is a reason to pursue it, I tell them to do something else.

—Joe Murray

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

—Chuck Close

If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.

—Neil Simon

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.

—Auguste Rodin

All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain.

—Walt Whitman

With the exception of Norman Rockwell and Robert Frost, America has never much revered her creative people; as a whole, we’re more interested in commemorative plates from the Franklin Mint and Internet greeting-cards. And if you don’t like it, it’s a case of tough titty said the kitty, ’cause that’s just the way things are. Americans are a lot more interested in TV quiz shows than in the short fiction of Raymond Carver.

—Stephen King

Artists who do not love their art are more numerous, and more unhappy, than we think.

—Logan Pearsall Smith

I have spent a good many years since—too many, I think—being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to a make you feel lousy about it, that’s all. I’m not editorializing, just trying to give you the facts as I see them.

—Stephen King

Painting is a nail to which I fasten my ideas.

—Georges Braque

The Earth without ‘Art’ is just ‘EH.’


A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing every day without repeating himself.

—Charles Schulz

If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly confident. The real one is scared to death.

—Steven Pressfield

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love–they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.

—Orson Welles

What a beautiful art, but what a wretched profession.

—Georges Bizet

The great thing about this thing we call art is that it has no rules.

—Kim Weston

We have art so that we shall not die of reality.

–Friedrich Nietzsche

Art is what people who aren’t willing to be of value to society do with their free time.

TL;DR Wikipedia

The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.

—Alexander Solzhenitsyn

There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.

—Vincent Van Gogh

That’s the motivation of an artist – to seek attention of some kind.

—James Taylor

Which painting in the National Gallery would I save if there was a fire? The one nearest the door of course.

—George Bernard Shaw

Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

—Yousuf Karsh

Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it acting, writing, painting or living itself, which is the greatest art of all. Creativity, at heart, is the essence of man’s being.

—Ray Bradbury

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.

—Neil Gaiman

No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.

—Antonin Artaud

To me, a painter, if not the most useful, is the least harmful member of our society.

–Man Ray

Those who have been eminent in philosophy, politics, poetry, and the arts have all had tendencies toward melancholia.


Having a high IQ is not equivalent to being highly creative….Above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t have much effect on creativity: most creative people are pretty smart, but they don’t have to be that smart, at least as measured by conventional intelligence tests. An IQ of 120, indicating that someone is very smart but not exceptionally so, is generally considered sufficient for creative genius.

–Nancy Andreasen

When the psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison looked at 47 famous writers and artists in Great Britain, she found that more than 38 percent had been treated for a mood disorder; the highest rates occurred among playwrights, and the second-highest among poets. When Joseph Schildkraut, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, studied a group of 15 abstract-expressionist painters in the mid-20th century, he found that half of them had some form of mental illness, mostly depression or bipolar disorder; nearly half of these artists failed to live past age 60.

–Nancy C. Andreasen

No flower of art ever fully blossomed save it was nourished by tears of agony.

–Isadora Duncan

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

History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.

–Joseph Conrad

At the center of our cultural endeavors is a small subset of people called artists. Seemingly endowed with heightened sensitivity to the world around them, artists feel and express the terrible beauty of our fleeting existence. The rest of us have jobs.

Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race

We paint because it’s therapeutic. We paint because it gives us new perspectives on the world around us. We paint because the act of creating is just as important as the creation. We paint because, God forbid, it’s fun, which is its own justification.

–Elizabeth Spiers

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

–Albert Einstein

Leonardo Da Vinci received a commission to paint Mona Lisa in 1503. Thirteen years later, he moved to France and took the painting with him, working on it until his death in 1519. Anyone who sees this masterpiece would consider it finished, but Leonardo evidently did not.

In fact, he finished almost nothing. Fifty years later, Giorgio Vasari, author of Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, explains why:

‘It is clear that Leonardo, through his comprehension of art, began

many things and never finished one of them, since it seemed to him

that the hand was not able to attain to the perfection of art in

carrying out the things which he imagined; for the reason that

he conceived in idea difficulties so subtle and so marvelous, that

they could never be expressed by the hands, be they ever so


–Don Fry

If you are going to break a Law of Art, make the crime interesting.

–Mason Cooley

My theory about creativity is that the more money one has, the more creative one can be.

—Robert Mapplethorpe

In every field of creative activity, there are people famous for their goodness: they are rarely at the top of the tree, which is a harsh environment.

–Clive James

Try to imagine, if only for a moment, what your intellectual, political, and ethical world would be like if you had never seen a photograph.

–Susie Linfield

Money is as important as love in generating great art.

–Damien Hirst

Don’t we all know them, those defiant, dreadlocked young lovelies with their useless degrees in studio art, experimental fiction, modern dance, and gender studies, lactose-intolerant and unemployable?

–Linda Hirshman

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

–Albert Einstein

The many great paintings of the world, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of art. If you don’t want the pleasure of art, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don’t have a soul.

–Thomas Moore

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

–Joseph Chilton Pearce

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

I found things I could say with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way…things I had no words for.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

Nothing reveals more about the inner life of a people than their arts.

–Diane Ackerman

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

–Twyla Tharp

If it sells, it’s art.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

It is often said in art circles that there are about 600 original Corot paintings, 3,000 of which are in the United States.

–Thomas W. Leavitt

When I finish painting, I paint again for relaxation.

–Pablo Picasso

When we look at a great painting (i.e., a painting uniformly held to be ‘great’) we are seeing the world through a creator’s eyes, and we are seeing it as no pair of eyes before in history had regarded the world.

–Harold C. Schonberg

The artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and he does it without destroying something else. A kind of refutation of the conservation of matter.

–John Updike

I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir.

–Vincent Van Gogh

A painter leaves his emotions behind him for posterity to share.

–Augustus John

I don’t own any of my own paintings because a Picasso original costs several thousand dollars—it’s a luxury I can’t afford.

—Pablo Picasso

The first picture was the outline of a man’s shadow cast by the sun upon a wall.

—Leonardo Da Vinci

Art for the sake of art itself is an idle sentence. Art for the sake of truth, for the sake of what is beautiful and good—that is the creed I seek.

–George Sand

I like to know what a picture represents without being told by the artist. Ladies with no mouth and six arms; gentlemen with eyes in their stomachs and legs of grand pianos; landscapes with wardrobe trunks overflowing with human limbs and peopled by alarm clocks with black silk-stockinged feet, only make me laugh, and anyone who can take them seriously has my dying admiration.

–Hermione Gingold

Artists should follow their own visions and create whatever they want. That is because it is precisely the variety of those unique visions of the human condition that gives art its true value. While the world knows and loves the dramas of Shakespeare and still recites his sonnets, only historians of the Elizabethan period can remember the names of the politicians who were his contemporaries. The moral of this story is clear. The value of great art will outlive the political controversies of the moment.

–Playthell Benjamin

The enemy of all painting is the color gray.

—Eugene Delacroix

Artists suffer so you don’t have to. 

—Marvin Gaye

One of the challenges in studios at that time was to paint a white egg, on a white tablecloth, on white marble…although all white, you get the feeling of an egg, the feeling of the cloth, the feeling of the table. One of the fascinating things about two-dimensional art is that it has a magic.

–Jacob Lawrence

People who see a drawing in the New Yorker will think automatically that it’s funny because it is a cartoon. If they see it in a museum, they think it is artistic; and if they find it in a fortune cookie, they think it is a prediction.

–Saul Steinberg

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own.

–Susan Sontag

We would all have dead souls if we had no aesthetic values.

–Wernher von Braun

The moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or dishonest tradesman.

–Oscar Wilde

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.


Real art is illumination. It gives a man an idea he never had before or lights up ideas that were formless or only lurking in the shadows of his mind. It adds stature to life.

–Brooks Atkinson

I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know than all the allegorical paintings…in the world.

–Samuel Johnson

A world without art resembles a nursery without laughter.

–Hendrick Van Loon

An amateur is an artist who supports himself with outside jobs which enable him to paint. A professional is someone whose wife works to enable him to paint.

–Ben Shahn

When they asked Michelangelo how he made his statue of David he is reported to have said, ‘It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.’


No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time. It is just that others are behind the time.

–Martha Graham

If my husband would ever meet a woman on the street who looked like the women in his paintings, he would fall over in a dead faint.

–Mrs. Pablo Picasso

Women do about all the reading and play-going that is done in America; at least they are responsible for most of the play-going, since men mostly ‘go along’ under their influence. They keep up most of our music, they maintain most of our painting and sculpture, they are the mainstay of our churches, our educational, cultural, and social institutions, they are the arbiters of taste and style for both sexes and in all particulars.

–Henry A. Beers

Would that we could at once paint with the eyes! In the long way from the eye, through the arm, to the pencil, how much is lost!

–Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Artists, like the Greek gods, are only revealed to one another.

–Oscar Wilde

There is no way to success in art but to take off your coat, grind paint and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photography is the Creator’s painting—his paintbrush is the light.

–Matsuki Ko-an

We should comport ourselves with the masterpieces of art as with exalted personages–stand quietly before them and wait till they speak to us.

–Arthur Schopenhauer

You use a glass mirror to see your face: you use works of art to see your soul.

–George Bernard Shaw

Only through art can we get outside of ourselves and know another’s view of the universe which is not the same as ours and see landscapes which would otherwise have remained unknown to us like the landscapes of the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing a single world, our own, we see it multiply until we have before us as many worlds as there are original artists….And many centuries after their core, whether we call it Rembrandt or Vermeer, is extinguished, they continue to send us their special rays.

–Marcel Proust

Art enlarges experience by admitting us to the inner life of others.

–Walter Lippmann

I like the feel of paint–the drag of the brush across the tooth of the canvas. A painting is something made of P-A-I-N-T paint oozing over the canvas.

–John Marin

Competitions are for horses, not artists.

–Bela Bartok

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

–Jean Cocteau

In a beautiful city an art gallery would be superfluous. In an ugly one it is a narcotic.

–Holbrook Jackson

The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.

–George Bernard Shaw

Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.

–Marshall McLuhan

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, I will answer you: ‘I am here to live out loud.’

–Emile Zola

It is from the artist that society gains its loftier images of itself.

–Joseph Wood Krutch

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

–Pablo Picasso

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

–George Bernard Shaw

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


We all see more of architecture than of any other art. Every street is a gallery of architects’ work, and in most streets, whatever their age, there is good work and bad. Through these amusing shows many of us walk unperceivingly all our days, like illiterates in a library, so richly does the fashionable education provide us with blind sides.

–C. E. Montague

There are three forms of visual art: Painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you can walk around, and architecture is art you can walk through.

–Dan Rice

The principal function of every artist is to make us see the world that was always there but which we were unaware of until he opened our eyes.

–Garrett Hardin

Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of what he created.

–J. Bronowski

In a 1971 article in Artnews, Linda Nochlin, a feminist art historian, asked a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad question: ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ Her question has been ringing in our collective ears ever since. And it’s ringing especially loudly this year. Here is Nochlin’s killer line: ‘The fact dear sisters, is that there are no women equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse, or even, in very recent times, for de Kooning or Warhol.’

She went on to explain why:

The fault, dear brothers lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education…everything that happens to us from the moment we enter this world of meaningful symbols, signs and signals.

Our very idea of greatness, of genius, she argued, is bound up with manliness.

—Sarah Boxer

Women artists have been put down in many ways over the years, but the basic technique boils down to this. A critic, a curator, a dealer, or an art historian describes how women paint differently from men, then declares this quality inferior. Women are pegged as controlled, tentative, personal. (For instance, Hartigan [Grace] recalled in her diary that Clement Greenberg told her women painters were ‘too easily satisfied’ and would make pictures that had a certain ‘polish.’) Men, meanwhile, are seen as wild and sure, channeling outside forces. (Pollock famously declared, ‘I am nature.’) In these match-ups between alleged feminine and masculine essences, the man typically wins. Finished is not free. Personal is not universal. Nature does not doubt itself.

Greatness is a moving target designed to make women miss. It is no accident that ‘paining like a man’ used to be dished out as a supremely delicious compliment. Irving Sandler once asked Hartigan ‘if a male artist ever told her she painted as well as a man.’ She replied tartly, ‘Not twice.’

—Sarah Boxer

My husband has spent a lot of time hauling me through museums the way one hauls a stubborn Saint Bernard to the vet. On one particular excursion to a modern art show, I spent the initial 20 minutes wandering through muttering, ‘I don’t get it,’ and ‘This is just a pile of mannequin legs.’ Then, I stumbled upon an installation that consisted of what appeared to be a door in the wall. Piped in from behind it was the sound of swishes clanking, the sizzle and spit of a stovetop, men’s voices above tinny music—and, as if I’d fallen through a wormhole, I was immediately in the back kitchen of every restaurant I’ve ever worked in. The cackle of a knife against the chopping board, the frustratingly slippery non-slip floor pads, the whoosh of steam from the dishwasher.

I beckon madly my husband and, literally bouncing with joy, said, ‘This one is awesome! Its like a time machine to my 20s! I totally get it! I totally get modern art!’

After a beat where I presume a lot happened for him internally, he said, ‘That’s actually a door to the kitchen.’

[Insert sad trombone noise.]

But you know what? If the resonance of art lies solely in the eye of the beholder, then for me, that kitchen door was art. And I still remember the way it felt to stand outside the door, head cocked, being transported to an ‘else’—someplace else, someone else, something else.

—Barbara Poelle

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


Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated.

–Alex F. Osborn

Children are naturally creative just as they are naturally honest. If we can start early enough, our problem is not how to make them creative but how to keep them from being noncreative….We can fan the flames of creativity instead of throwing water on them. And if we are really good, we can throw gasoline instead.

–D. Kenneth Winebrenner

Art is not a thing, it is a way.

–Elbert Hubbard

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

–Pablo Picasso

Abstract Art: A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

–Al Capp

Every time an artist dies, part of the vision of mankind passes with him.

–Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It does not matter how badly you paint so long as you don’t paint badly like other people.

–George Moore

Occasional vulgarity is a by-product of the vitality and passion without which there can be no great art.

–Francis Toye

The great artist is the simplifier.

–Henri Frederic Amiel

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


I shut my eyes in order to see.

–Paul Gauguin

It is better to paint from memory, for thus your work will be your own; your sensation, your intelligence, and your soul will triumph over the eye of the amateur…Do not finish your work too much.

–Paul Gauguin

All profoundly original art looks ugly at first.

–Clement Greenberg

The artist is the seismograph of his age.

–Robert W. Corrigan

The artist has a special task and duty: the task of reminding men of their humanity and the promise of their creativity.

   –Lewis Mumford

To have beheld…the greatest works of any great painter…is a possession added to the best things of life.

–Algernon Charles Swinburne

Art is idea. It is not enough to draw, paint, and sculpt. An artist should be able to think.

–Gordon Woods

Art hath an enemy called Ignorance.

–Ben Jonson

To paint a fine picture is far more important than to sell it.

–Edward Alden Jewell

Creative intelligence in its various forms and activities is what makes man.

–James Harvey Robinson

Now I really make the little idea from clay, and I hold it in my hand. I can turn it, look at it from underneath, see it from one view, hold it against the sky, imagine it any size I like, and really be in control almost like God creating something.

–Henry Moore

Discipline and focused awareness…contribute to the act of creation.

–John Poppy

Genius is personal, decided by fate, but it expresses itself by means of system. There is no work of art without system.

   –Le Corbusier

Conception, my boy, fundamental brainwork, is what makes the difference in all art.

 –Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Art is not an end in itself, but a means of addressing humanity.

 –Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

Every artist preserves deep within him a single source from which, throughout his lifetime, he draws what he is and what he says, and when the source dries up the work withers and crumbles.

  –Albert Camus

As an artist grows older, he has to fight disillusionment and learn to establish the same relation to nature as an adult as he had when a child.

    –Charles Burchfield

What is it they want from the man that they didn’t get from the work? What do they expect? What is there left when he’s done with his work, what’s any artist but the dregs of his work, the human shambles that follows it around?

—William Gaddis

It is not in life but in art that self-fulfillment is to be found.

–George Woodcock

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

–Paul Klee

All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.

–James Baldwin

All art has this characteristic—it unites people.

–Leo Tolstoy

Art is based on order. The world is full of ‘sloppy Bohemians’ and their work betrays them.

 –Eduard Weston

Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

–Paul Gauguin

An artist has to take life as he finds it. Life by itself is formless wherever it is. Art must give it form.

–Hugh MacLennan

Beauty—the adjustment of all parts proportionately so that one cannot add or subtract or change without impairing the harmony of the whole.

–Leon Battista Alberti

In the creative state a man is taken out of himself. He lets down as it were a bucket into his subconscious, and draws up something which is normally beyond his reach. He mixes this thing with his normal experiences and out of the mixture he makes a work of art.

 –E. M. Forster

In morals, always do as others do; in art, never.

–Jules Renard

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.

–Henri Matisse

A good painter is to paint two main things, namely men and the working of man’s mind.

–Leonardo da Vinci

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

–Pablo Picasso

Good taste is the first refuge of the non-creative. It is the last ditch stand of the artist.

–Marshall McLuhan

It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.

–Salvador Dali

Taste is the enemy of creativeness.

–Pablo Picasso

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

  –Edgar Degas

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

–Walter Gropius

When one is painting one does not think.


When I am finishing a picture I hold some God-made object up to it—a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand—as a kind of final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there’s a clash between the two, it is bad art.

–Marc Chagall

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

–Georges Rouault

Because a work of art does not aim at reproducing natural appearances, it is not, therefore, an escape from life…but an expression of the significance of life, a stimulation to greater effort in living.

–Henry Moore

The function of art is to wrest shape out of chaos.

–Edward Fenton

In art, truth lies in surprising.

–Julian Green

Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. It makes art into an article for use, for arrangement into a mental scheme of categories. Interpretation does not, of course, always prevail. In fact, a great deal of today’s art may be understood as motivated by flight from interpretation. To avoid interpretation, art may become parody. Or it may become abstract. Or it may become (‘merely’) decorative. Or it may become non-art.

–Susan Sontag

Every artist wants his work to be permanent. But what is? The Aswan Dam covered some of the greatest art in the world. Venice is sinking. Great books and pictures were lost in the Florence floods. In the meantime we still enjoy butterflies.

–Romare Beardon

The artist is only given to sense more keenly than others the harmony of the world and all the beauty and savagery of the human contribution to it—and to communicate this poignantly to people.

–Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Once he has touched art, he can never be the same again. It’s like going down a great avenue; he will always recall it.

–Louise Nevelson

The great work of art is great because it creates a special world of its own. It 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

The artist does not seek, he finds.

   –David Jones

All art is a revolt against man’s fate.

–Andre Malraux

The true function of art is to…edit nature and so make it coherent and lovely. The artist is a sort of impassioned proofreader, blue-penciling the bad spelling of God.

   –H. L. Mencken

Art is a human activity, consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.

  –Leo Tolstoy

Art reveals Nature’s lack of design, her curious crudities, her absolutely unfinished condition. Nature has good intentions, but she cannot carry them out. Art is our gallant attempt to teach Nature her proper place.

–Oscar Wilde

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

 –Pablo Picasso

Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.

   –Albert Camus

Art is the only form of activity in which man, as man, shows himself to be a true individual who is capable of going beyond the animal state. Art is an outlet toward regions which are not ruled by time and space.

–Marcel Duchamp

One must not walk around a statue any more than around a painting, because one does not walk around a shape in order to conceive the impression of it.

–Medaro Rosso

Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment.

–Jackson Pollock

Pay no attention to what the critics say… Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!

—Jean Sibelius

The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening in our world than the stock market or the debates in Congress.

–Hendrik Willem Van Loon

The Arts should have but one single purpose, and should contribute as much as it is within their own particular power to do so to the highest of all the Arts—the Art of Living.

 –Hendrik Willem Van Loon

In every school it is taught: Never leave stale flowers in a vase. Throw them away! So it should be taught: Never leave stale pictures on the wall. Burn them! The value of a picture lies in the aesthetic emotion it brings, exactly as if it were a flower.  The aesthetic emotion dead, the picture is a piece of ugly litter.

–D. H. Lawrence

Art is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.

—W. Somerset Maugham

In modern work the spectator has to bring with him more than half the emotion. To most people who look at a mobile, it’s no more than a series of flat objects that move. To a few, though, it may be poetry.

–Alexander Calder

In the end, works of art are the only media of complete and unhindered communication between man and man that can occur in a world full of gulfs and walls that limit community of experience.

 –John Dewey

The most immoral and disgraceful and dangerous thing that anybody can do in the arts is knowingly to feed back to the public its own ignorance and cheap tastes.

–Edmund Wilson

Art, to a certain extent and at a given moment, is a force which blows the roof off the cave where we crouch imprisoned.

–Ernest Hello

In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters.

–Paul Gauguin

I know little or nothing about a work of art until I have seen it many times. I have to let the thing live in itself a long time before my eyes….A work of art has a life as definite as your wife, your mistress, your friend, your brother. And just as important too.

–Sherwood Anderson

There are a hundred thousand men born to live and die who will not be as valuable to the world as one canvas.

–Sherwood Anderson

A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual.

–Vladimir Nabokov

Our feeling for a work of art is rarely independent of the place it occupies in art history.

 –Andre Malraux

There is nothing in life so much exaggerated as the importance of art. If it were all wiped off the surface of the earth tomorrow, the world would scarcely miss it.

–Richard Le Gallienne

Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting people have to understand….People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.

–Pablo Picasso

It is harder to see than it is to express. The whole value of art rests in the artist’s ability to see well into what is before him.

–Robert Henri

The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an art education; he is already qualified.

 –Robert Henri

The only portraits in which one believes are portraits where there is very little of the sitter and a very great deal of the artist.

  –Oscar Wilde

I often wish that we had a more beautiful word than ‘art’ for so beautiful a thing; it is in itself a snappish, explosive word, like the cry of an angry animal; and it has, too, to bear the sad burden of its own misuse by affected people.

 –A. C. Benson

When a thing needs no imaginative effort to get hold of it, it’s not a work of art.

–William J. Locke

Other things being equal, the work of art which in its own way ‘says’ more about the universe will be better than the work of art which says less.

–Aldous Huxley

The good thing about a work of art is that it tells all sorts of things to different spectators, of none of which things the artist ever knew a word.

–William James

Does Man love Art? Man visits Art, but squirms.

Art hurts. Art urges voyages—

and it is easier to stay at home,

the nice beer ready.

–Gwendolyn Brooks

Art flourishes when there is a sense of adventure, a sense of nothing having been done before, of complete freedom to experiment; but when caution comes in you get repetition, and repetition is the death of art.

–Alfred North Whitehead

Every good painter invents a new way of painting.

 –Aldous Huxley

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

–Charles Horton Cooley

A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t believe any real artist cares whether what he does is ‘art’ or not. Who, after all, knows what is art? I think the real artists are too busy with just being and growing and acting (on canvas or however) like themselves, to worry about the end. This end is what it will be. The object is intense living, fulfillment, the great happiness in creation.

–Robert Henri

I breathe painting; I never cease thinking about it. And when I paint, I never really know what I will paint. I look at the many colors before me. I look at my blank canvas. Then, I try to seek an equilibrium….I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

–Joan Miro

All intellectual work is the same,—the artist feeds the public on his own bleeding insides.

–William James

Not many of our painters have much straight sensual joy in life—in fruits, hills, women’s bodies, skies, rivers, etc. Most of them, I think, get painting too much up into their heads to ever paint really well.

–Sherwood Anderson

I shall keep at painting. It is a doorway out of much that is disordered in myself.

–Sherwood Anderson

Painters are especial sufferers from the visits of talkative people who know little or nothing of the art they talk about, and yet who have quite influence enough to disturb the painter’s mind by proving to him that his noblest thoughts are surest to be misunderstood.

–Philip G. Hamerton

I don’t think that an artist should bother about his audience. His best audience is the person he sees in his shaving mirror every morning. I think that the audience an artist imagines, when he imagines that kind of thing, is a room filled with people wearing his own mask.

–Vladimir Nabokov

The quality that above all deserves the greatest glory in art–—and by that word we must include all creations of the mind—is courage….To plan, dream, and imagine fine works is a pleasant occupation to be sure….But to produce, to bring to birth, to bring up the infant work with labor, to put it to bed full-fed with milk, to take it up again every morning with inexhaustible maternal love, to lick it clean, to dress it a hundred times in lovely garments that it tears up again and again; never to be discouraged by the convulsions of this mad life, and to make of it a living masterpiece that speaks to all eyes in sculpture, or to all minds in literature, to all memories in painting, to all hearts in music–that is the task of execution.

–Honore de Balzac

The only health for the artist is the constant practice of his craft.

–Henry James

The notion of making money by popular work, and then retiring to do good work on the proceeds, is the most familiar of all the devil’s traps for artists.

–Logan Pearsall Smith

An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along; he must offer some little opposition.

–Evelyn Waugh

The aim of art, the aim of a life can only be to increase the sum of freedom and responsibility to be found in every man and in the world. It cannot, under any circumstances, be to reduce or suppress that freedom, even temporarily….No great work has ever been based on hatred and contempt. On the contrary, there is not a single true work of art that has not in the end added to the inner freedom of each person who has known and loved it.

–Albert Camus

It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.


Art distills sensation and embodies it with enhanced meaning in memorable form—or else it is not art.

–Jacques Barzun

I wonder whether art has a higher function than to make me feel, appreciate, and enjoy natural objects for their art value?

–Bernard Berenson

Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.

–Samuel Butler

The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else, its most interesting period.

–Samuel Butler

Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.

 –Sir Winston Churchill

Life, the raw material, is only lived in potential until the artist deploys it in his work.

–Lawrence Durrell

The artist’s work constitutes the only satisfactory relationship he can have with his fellow men since he seeks his real friends among the dead and the unborn.

–Lawrence Durrell

No generation is interested in art in quite the same way as any other; each generation, like each individual, brings to the contemplation of art its own categories of appreciation, makes its own demands upon art, and has its own uses for art.

–T. S. Eliot

It depends little on the object, much on the mood, in art.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

By artist I mean of course everyone who has tried to create something which was not here before him, with no other tools and material than the uncommerciable ones of the human spirit.

–William Faulkner

The work of art is the exaggeration of an idea.

–Andre Gide

There is no better deliverance from the world than through art; and a man can form no surer bond with it than through art.

–Johann von Goethe

Art and science create a balance to material life and enlarge the world of living experience. Art leads to a more profound concept of life, because art itself is a profound expression of feeling.

 –Hans Hoffmann

Art changes all the time, but it never ‘improves.’ It may go down, or up, but it never improves as technology and medicine improve.

–Alfred Kazin

Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.

–Paul Klee

The artist isn’t particularly keen on getting a thing done, as you call it. He gets his pleasure out of doing it, playing with it, fooling with it, if you like. The mere completion of it is an incident.

–William McFee

Thought that can merge wholly into feeling, feeling that can merge wholly into thought—these are the artist’s highest joy.

–Thomas Mann

The world of sight is still limitless. It is the artist who limits vision to the cramped dimensions of his own ego.

–Marya Mannes

Being an artist means ceasing to take seriously that person we are when we are not an artist.

–Jose Ortega Y Gasset

Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass.

–Walter Pater

An artist doesn’t necessarily have deeper feelings than other people, but he can express these feelings.

–Ned Rorem

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

–Oscar Wilde

I call architecture ‘petrified music.’ Really there is something in this; the tone of mind produced by architecture approaches the effect of music.

–Johann von Goethe

In architecture the pride of man, his triumph over gravitation, his will to power, assume a visible form. Architecture is a sort of oratory of power by means of forms.

–Friedrich Nietzsche

No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.

–John Ruskin

The sooner you make your first five thousand mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them.

–Kimon Nicolaides

Imagination: the liquid solution in which art develops the snapshots of reality.

–Cyril Connolly

The rude beginnings of every art acquire a greater celebrity than the art in perfection; he who first played the fiddle was looked upon as a demigod.


A seventeenth-century painting can be ‘modern’ because the living eye finds it fresh and new. A ‘modern’ painting can be outdated because it was a product of the moment and not of time.

–Marya Mannes

Each living art object, taken out of its native habitat so we can conveniently gaze at it, is like an animal in a zoo. Something about it has died in the removal.

–Daniel J. Boorstin

In painting, the most brilliant colors, spread at random and without design, will give far less pleasure than the simplest outline of a figure.


That which probably hears more stupidities than anything else in the world is a painting in a museum.

–Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

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

–Oscar Wilde

One picture in ten thousand, perhaps, ought to live in the applause of mankind, from generation to generation until the colors fade and blacken out of sight or the canvas rot entirely away.

–Nathaniel Hawthorne

The painter who draws by practise and judgment of the eye without the use of reason is like the mirror which reproduces within itself all the objects which are set opposite to it without knowledge of the same.

–Leonardo da Vinci

How vain painting is–we admire the realistic depiction of objects which in their original state we don’t admire at all.


The scholar seeks, the artist finds.

–Andre Gide

The humblest painter is a true scholar; and the best of scholars—the scholar of nature.

–William Hazlitt

‘Good taste’ is a virtue of the keepers of museums. If you scorn bad taste, you will have neither painting nor dancing, neither palaces nor gardens.


All artists today are expected to cultivate a little fashionable unhappiness.

–Lawrence Durrell

The whole of art is only an imitation of nature.


Things exist—we don’t have to create them!

–Stephane Mallarme

The human intellect is the origin of all things created by art.

 –St. Thomas Aquinas

The painter gives a soul to a figure.

–S. R. N. Chamfort

A picture is a model of reality.

–Ludwig Wittgenstein

Whoever paints a figure, unless he can be it, cannot set it down.


Every young artist has to do it one way, his way, and the hell with patterns. Remember who you are and where you are and what you’re doing. Nobody else can do anything for you and you really wouldn’t want them to, anyway. And never take advice, including this.

–Katherine Anne Porter

Art should be appreciated with passion and violence, not with a tepid, depreciating elegance that fears the censoriousness of a common room.

–W. Somerset Maugham

I do not presume to explain how to paint, but only how to get enjoyment….Buy a paint box and have a try. If you need something to occupy your leisure, to divert your mind from the daily round, to illuminate your holidays, do not be too ready to believe that you cannot find what you want here. Even at the advanced age of forty!…Be persuaded that the first quality that is needed is Audacity….Just to paint is great fun….Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

–Sir Winston Churchill

Put oneself in touch with each artist…enter into his point of view…see as far as possible with his eyes, and to estimate his work not for what it does not contain, but for what it does. In this way only can our appreciation of painting become catholic and intelligent. Then, we are no longer content to say ‘I know what I like,’ but ‘I know why I like;’ and our likings are multiplied….Thus may we enter into the life of the artist and reinforce our own lives.

–Charles H. Caffin

I paint a window just as I look out of a window. If a window looks wrong in a picture open, I draw the curtain and shut it, just as I would in my own room. One must act in painting as in life, directly.

–Pablo Picasso

For art, if it is to be reckoned with as one of the great values of life, must teach man humility, tolerance, wisdom and magnanimity. The value of art is not beauty, but right action.

–W. Somerset Maugham

Every artist was first an amateur.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

A picture is a poem without words.


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

–Alfred Tonnelle

There are moments when art attains almost to the dignity of manual labour.

–Oscar Wilde

The vitality of a new movement in art or letters can be pretty accurately gauged by the fury it arouses.

–Logan Pearsall Smith

To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.

–Thomas A. Edison

Architecture is the printing press of all ages, and gives a history of the state of the society in which it was erected.

–Lady Morgan

The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work.


When a work of art appears to be in advance of its period, it is really the period that has lagged behind the work of art.

–Jean Cocteau

A photograph is a portrait painted by the sun.


Art is the surest and safest civilizer.

–Charles B. Fairbanks

A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.

—Sir Joshua Reynolds

When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece.

–John Ruskin

Good painting is like good cooking: it can be tasted, but not explained.

–Maurice de Vlaminck

An artist’s sphere of influence is the world.

–Carl von Weber

A work of art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.

–Emile Zola

Take a quart of nature, boil it down to a pint, and the residue is art.

–Austin O’Malley

The building which was fitted accurately to answer its end would turn out to be beautiful, though beauty had not been intended.

 –Georg Möller

The secret of life is in art.

–Oscar Wilde

The highest problem of every art is, by means of appearances, to produce the illusion of a loftier reality.

–Johann von Goethe

Classic art was the art of necessity: modern romantic art bears the stamp of caprice and chance.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art is not a thing: it is a way.

–Elbert Hubbard

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

Art is the conveyance of spirit by means of matter.

–Salvador de Madariaga

Art is a reaching out into the ugliness of the world for vagrant beauty and the imprisoning of it in a tangible dream.

–George Jean Nathan

That which takes effect by chance is not an art.


Art for art’s sake.

–Victor Coussin

New arts destroy the old.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art is either a plagiarist or a revolutionist.

–Paul Gauguin

As the sun colours flowers so does art colour life.

–Sir John Lubbock

If the art is concealed, it succeeds.


All the arts are brothers; each one is a light to the others.


All arts are one,—all branches on one tree;

All fingers, as it were, upon one hand.

  –W. W. Story

There never was an artistic period. There never was an art-loving nation.

–J. McNeill Whistler

Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick, and choose, and group with science, these elements, that the result may be beautiful.

–J. McNeill Whistler

Nothing can come out of an artist that is not in the man.

–H. L. Mencken

The learned understand the theory of art; the unlearned its pleasure.

–Marcus Fabius Quintilian

It is futile to assign the place an artist is likely to take in the future….Books and pictures read differently to different generations.

–William Rothenstein

He is the greatest artist who has embodied in the sum of his works, the greatest number of the greatest ideas.

–John Ruskin

The difference between Art and Life is that Art is more bearable.

–Charles Bukowski

The containment of our confusions is what we call sanity. The resolution of confusions, the painstaking removal of the stew’s ingredients and the remaking of a better stew is what we call art,

–Geoffrey Wolff

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

Art is uncompromising, and life is full of compromises.

–Gunter Grass

Art for art’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake.

–W. Somerset Maugham

All art has this characteristic—it unites people.

–Leo Tolstoy

My first thought about art, as a child, was that the artist brings something into the world that didn’t exist before, and that he does it without destroying something else. A kind of refutation of the conservation of matter. That still seems to me its central magic, its core of joy.

–John Updike

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

With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists, the small trumpet of your defiance.

–Norman Mailer

Suffering is the maid condition of the artistic experience.

–Samuel Beckett

There are Six Essentials in painting. The first is called spirit; the second, rhythm; the third, thought; the fourth, scenery; the fifth, the brush; and the last is the ink.

–Ching Hao

I call architecture frozen music.

–Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

Create, artist! Do not talk!

–Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

Individuality of expression is the beginning and end of all art.

–Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

In art economy is always beauty.

–Henry James

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, for our consideration and application of these things, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.

–Henry James

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

–T. S. Eliot

There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.

–Charlie Chaplin

One cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has nothing to say.

–Andre Malraux

Now Art, used collectively for painting, sculpture, architecture and music, is the mediatress between, and reconciler of, nature and man. It is, therefore, the power of humanizing nature, of infusing the thoughts and passions of man into everything which is the object of his contemplation.

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The surest test of the civilization of a people—at least, as sure as any—afforded by mechanical art is to be found in their architecture, which presents so noble a field for the display of the grand and the beautiful, and which, at the same time, is so intimately connected with the essential comforts of life.

–William Hickling Prescott

Your subject is yourself, your impressions, your emotions in the presence of nature.

–Eugene Delacroix

The first virtue of a painting is to be a feast for the eyes.

–Eugene Delacroix

Painting is only a bridge linking the painter’s mind with that of the viewer.

–Eugene Delacroix

In the vaunted works of Art

The master stroke is Nature’s part.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art for art’s sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of the true, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith I am searching for.

–George Sand

We’re made so that we love

First when we see them painted, things we have passed

Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see;

And so they are better, painted—better to us,

Which is the same thing. Art was given for that.

–Robert Browning

All great art is the work of the whole living creature, body and soul, and chiefly of the soul.

–John Ruskin

Architecture…the adaptation of form to resist force.

–John Ruskin

Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, may truly be called the efflorescence of civilized life.

–Herbert Spencer

Statues and pictures and verse may be grand,

But they are not the Life for which they stand.

–James Thomson

The masterpiece should appear as the flower to the painter—perfect in its bud as in its bloom—with no reason to explain its presence—no mission to fulfill—a joy to the artist, a delusion to the philanthropist—a puzzle to the botanist—an accident of sentiment and alliteration to the literary man.

–James McNeill Whistler

Art should be independent of all claptrap—should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye and ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it.

–James McNeill Whistler

It is for the artist…in portrait painting to put on canvas something more than the face the model wears for that one day; to paint the man, in short, as well as his features.

–James McNeill Whistler

Right now a moment of time is fleeting by! Capture its reality in paint! To do that we must put all else out of our minds. We must become that moment, make ourselves a sensitive recording plate…give the image of what we actually see, forgetting everything that has been seen before our time.

–Paul Cezanne

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed (in a painting), will set off a revolution.

–Paul Cezanne

It is the addition of strangeness to beauty that constitutes the romantic character in art.

–Walter Pater

All passes. Art alone

Enduring stays to us;

The bust outlasts the throne—

The coin, Tiberius.

–Henry Austin Dobson

It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection; through art and art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.

–Oscar Wilde

All art is quite useless.

–Oscar Wilde

The artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition—and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain; to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation—and to the subtle but invincible conviction of solidarity that knits together the loneliness of innumerable hearts, to the solidarity in dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear…which binds together all humanity—the dead to the living and the living to the unborn.

–Joseph Conrad

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment in recognition of the pattern.

–Alfred North Whitehead

Art begins with resistance—at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor.

–Andre Gide

What interests me most is neither still life nor landscape, but the human figure. It is through it that I best succeed in expressing the almost religious feeling I have towards life.

–Henri Matisse

That is what the title of artist means: one who perceives more than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.

–Edward Gordon Craig

Art of any profundity can be appreciated only slowly, gradually, in leisurely contemplation.

–Daniel Gregory Mason

Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further.

–Rainer Maria Rilke

The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable.

–Henry Louis Mencken

Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as a mediator between this strange hostile world and us, a way of seizing the power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.

–Pablo Picasso

The person portrayed and the portrait are two entirely different things.

–Jose Ortega y Gasset

Genius…is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one, and where the man of talent sees two or three, plus the ability to register that multiple perception in the material of his art.

–Ezra Pound

No architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.

–John Ruskin

There is nothing but art. Art is living. To attempt to give an object of art life by dwelling on its historical, cultural, or archaeological associations is senseless.

–W. Somerset Maugham

Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame.

–G. K. Chesterton

One is never tired of painting, because you have to set down, not what you knew already, but what you have just discovered. There is a continual creation out of nothing going on.

–William Hazlitt

It is better to create than to be learned; creating is the true essence of life.

–Barthold Georg Niebuhr

A picture is an intermediate something between a thought and a thing.

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A room with pictures and a room without pictures, differ nearly as much as a room with windows and a room without windows; for pictures are loopholes of escape to the soul, leading it to other scenes and spheres, where the fancy for a moment may revel, refreshed and delighted. Pictures are consolers of loneliness, and a relief to the jaded mind, and windows to the imprisoned thought; they are books, histories, and sermons—which we can read without the trouble of turning over the leaves.

–John Gilbert

Greek architecture is the flowering of geometry.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man, that the sight of them may contribute to his mental health, power, and pleasure.

–John Ruskin

The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality.

–Johann von Goethe

Never judge a work of art by its defects.

–Washington Allston

The object of art is to crystallize emotion into thought, and then fix it in form.


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

–Marcus Fabius Quintilian

Too many of today’s artists have persuaded themselves that the grotesque is more expressive than the higher grace. It is always easier to caricature than to reveal, to shout than to sing, to pretend than to be true.

–Richard Guggenheimer

If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners—let us thank heaven for hypocrisy.

–Aldous Huxley

Dance is…a celebration of life, tradition, socialization, therapy, ethnic expression, worship, communication, physical education, aesthetic experience, a fine art.


Those move easiest who have learned to dance.

–Alexander Pope

Creative rhythmic movement has a unique and vital place in today’s schools. The potential…is unlimited…to help children feel good about themselves, find zest and excitement in learning and relate to others in meaningful ways.

–Robert S. Fleming

The dancer’s growth evolves from dancing for the sheer joy of sensing movement, to the seeking of form and mastering of technique, and to dance as the expression and communication of sensory experience, emotion, and creative imagination.

–Margaret H’Doubler

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique….Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.

–Martha Graham

The reality of the dance is its truth to our inner life. Therein lies its power to move and communicate experience.

–Martha Graham

Movements, like words, may be thought of as symbols of meaning, and in this sense we way consider movement to be comparable to speech or language, by which we communicate with others.

–Alice A. Gates

Dancing, because it is dependent on human habits and action, is the most malleable and changeable. It is also the oldest art. It is the mother or germinal form….Before man can do anything, he must draw breath, he must move. Movement is the source and condition of life.

–Agnes DeMille

Dance as an art from is both an impressive and expressive experience. Although the ace of dancing is expressive (that is, from the ‘inside out’), it draws upon impressions in the environment (from the ‘outside in’). Thus, spontaneity does not occur in a vacuum, but emerges from sensory data which provide the sources for expression of ideas or moods.

–Geraldine Dimondstein

Dancing is the body made poetic.

–Ernest Bacon

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.

–Havelock Ellis

To watch dance is an opportunity to encounter the uniqueness and vitality of dance…when a dance is there for us, we intuitively know that it is there; something alive and vibrant is happening on the stage, and as we are totally engaged in our experience of what is happening, so we too are alive and vibrant; we have a lived experience.

–Maxine Sheets

Dance is a wonderful hybrid of two equal lines; the art and the science of human movement; the physical and the aesthetic.

–Betty Thoman

Dance—freeing the body from needless inhibitions and breaking down some of the unessential reserves—frees the personality for a wider and more satisfying life.

–Margaret H’Doubler

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

–Martha Graham

The value of dance as an art…is in helping children achieve an awareness of the importance of organizing their emotions and of communicating them through the forms of movement.

–Geraldine Dimondstein

It is not important that you should know what a dance means. It is only important that you should be stirred.

–Martha Graham

In music it is sound. In painting, color. In literature, words. And in dance, motion. In the dance art the emphasis is placed not upon the results of movement, but upon movement itself. Seeing how commonplace actions can be sensed and then transformed through selection, arrangement and skillful performance, the viewer comes away with an understanding of the emotional basis underlying dance and of the sentient awareness which qualifies dance as an art.


Dance is the delicate balance between perfection and freedom.


Dance in the most perishable of the arts. Ballets are forgotten, ballerinas retire, choreographers die – and what remains of that glorious production which so excited us a decade ago, a year ago, or even last night?

—Jack Anderson

Dance is silent poetry.


Learning rules cannot produce an artist.

–Anna Sokolow

The poet has one great and rewarding advantage over other practicing artists. When he speaks of his own work, he does so in the same medium, language, in which he wrote. When the composer or sculptor or musician speaks of his own art, he must do so in a medium foreign to the musical tone, color and shape and line with which he created his own art.

–Paul Engle and Joseph Langland

It is wise to learn; it is God-like to create.

–John Saxe

The artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like the bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The work of art may have a moral effect, but to demand moral purpose from the artist is to make him ruin his work.

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One puts into one’s art what one has not been capable of putting into one’s existence. It is because he was unhappy that God created the world.

–Henri de Montherlant

The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness.

–Max Eastman

The true artist has the planet for his pedestal; the adventurer, after years of strife, has nothing broader than his shoes.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man.

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda, it is a form of truth.

–John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Art is a form of catharsis.

–Dorothy Parker

The more minimal the art, the more maximum the explanation.

–Hilton Kramer

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

As long as art is the beauty parlor of civilization, neither art nor civilization is secure.

–John Dewey

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

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

–Theodore Dreiser

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

–André Gide

The people who make art their business are mostly impostors.

–Pablo Picasso

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.

–William Butler Yeats

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

–Gilbert K. Chesterton

I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

–John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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

Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The art of a people is a true mirror of their minds.

–Jawaharlal Nehru

Art, no matter what its intention, reacts to or reflects the culture it springs from.

–Sonia Sanchez

The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life.

–Ralph Ellison

Thought is more important than art….To revere art and have no understanding of the process that forces it into existence, is finally not even to understand what art is.

–Amiri Baraka

Art for art’s sake is just another piece of deodorized dog-shit.

–Chinua Achebe

A work of art is an exaggeration.

–André Gide

Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.


The object of art is to give life a shape.

–Jean Anouilh

The scholar seeks, the artist finds.

–André Gide

Conception, my boy, fundamental brainwork, is what makes the difference in all art.

–Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A picture lives by companionship. It dies by the same token. It is therefore risky to send it out into the world. How often it must be impaired by the eyes of the unfeeling.

–Mark Rothko

A picture can become for us a highway between a particular thing and a universal feeling.

–Lawren Harris

A work of art cannot be satisfied with being a representation; it should be a presentation.

–Jacques Reverdy

Art distills sensation and embodies it with enhanced meaning in memorable form—or else it is not art.

–Jacques Barzun

Artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

–John Ruskin

Everything in nature is formed upon the sphere, the cone and the cylinder. One must learn to paint these simple figures and then one can do all that he may wish.

–Paul Cézanne

Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.

–Vincent van Gogh

Architecture is a continuing dialogue between generations which creates an environment across time.

–Vincent Scully

To be an architect is to possess an individual voice speaking a generally understood language of form.

–Robert A. M. Stern

Architecture is inhabited sculpture.

–Constantin Brancusi

Society needs a good image of itself. That is the job of the architect.

–Walter Gropius

Good architecture lets nature in.

–Mario Pei

Art is the material evidence that reminds us of the wealth of our culture—of who we are.

–Mary Schmidt Campbell

The arts humanize the curriculum while affirming the interconnectedness of all forms of knowing. They are a powerful means to improve general education.

–Charles Fowler

Schools that do not teach the arts are, quite literally, creating a generation that is less civilized than it could be, more barbaric than it should be.

–Charles Fowler

The arts provide a more comprehensive and insightful education because they invite students to explore the emotional, intuitive, and irrational aspects of life that science is hard pressed to explain.

–Charles Fowler

Art is idea. It is not enough to draw, paint, and sculpt. An artist should be able to think.

–Gordon Woods

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

–Albert Einstein

I don’t think creative people generally do what they do to make money. They may get a process going by which money is made, and they realize it’s a good idea to keep that going, but I think that if they passed a law tomorrow that no creative person can ever again make any money on his poems, his paintings, his songs, his sculptures, I don’t believe you’d see any fewer poems in the world. I think the number of paintings would still continue to flow because people do that because they’re able to. The discover this ability in themselves and derive great pleasure from it.

–Steve Allen

Originality is simply a fresher pair of eyes.

–Woodrow Wilson

Genius is recognizing the uniqueness in the unimpressive.


With a subject matter as broad as life itself, the arts easily relate to aspects of almost everything else that is taught.

–Charles Fowler

Love of beauty is Taste….The creation of beauty is Art.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve seen much finer women, ripe and real,

Than all the nonsense of their stone ideal.

—Lord Byron

Sculpture is more divine, and more like Nature,

That fashions all her works in high relief,

And that is sculpture. This vast ball, the Earth,

Was moulded out of clay, and baked in fire;

Men, women, and all animals that breathe

Are statues and not paintings.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Painting with all its technicalities, difficulties, and peculiar ends, is nothing but a noble and expressive language, invaluable as the vehicle of thought, but by itself nothing.

–John Ruskin

When you try to formalize or socialize creative activity, the only sure result is commercial constipation….The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.

–Charles Browder

The experience of dealing with the arts is necessary for younger children. For most of them, producing art is their introduction to the idea of work. They start learning the discipline that they will need to achieve their goals. They learn what powerful satisfaction work can provide. They learn to explore, and they experience success. These are the impulses a human being needs most if he is to work hard and happily in life, and no children’s activity is better than art at instilling these attitudes.

–Leonard Garmet

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

–Scott Adams

When our children are unable to ‘read’ the languages of art, or music, or mathematics, or written prose, the content these forms possess and the experience they provide cannot be known. It is in this sense that the curriculum of the school is aimed—or should be aimed—at the development of multiple forms of literacy.

–Elliot Eisner

A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world.

–Edmond and Jules Goncourt

We all know art is not true. Art is a lie to make us realize the truth.

–Pablo Picasso

Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. Therein lies its immense value. For what it seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.

–Oscar Wilde

Life is not about significant details, illuminated in a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.

–Susan Sontag

Painting, n: the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.

–Ambrose Bierce

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.

–Pablo Picasso

I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.

–Vincent van Gogh

A good painter is to paint two main things, namely men and the working of man’s mind.

–Leonardo da Vinci

Great art is precisely that which never was nor will be taught; it is preeminently and finally the expression of the spirits of great men.

–John Ruskin

Art should never try to be popular; the public should try to make itself artistic.

–Oscar Wilde

Art is an idea. It is not enough to draw, paint, and sculpt. An artist should be able to think.

–Gurdon Woods

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

–Sir John Lubbock

Art is art because it is not nature.

–Johann von Goethe

If I could tell you what I mean in words, there would be no need for dancing.

–Isadora Duncan

A fine artist is one who makes familiar things new and new things familiar.

–Louis Nizer

The artist doesn’t see things as they are, he sees things as he is.

–Robert Beverly Hale

Architecture should be dedicated to keeping the outside out and the inside in.

–Leonard Baskin

A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his client to plant vines.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

Strong and convincing art has never arisen from theories.

–Mary Wigman

Abstract art is uniquely modern….It is a fundamentally romantic response to modern life—rebellious, individualistic, unconventional, sensitive, irritable.

–Robert Motherwell

Painting is self-discovery.

–Jackson Pollock

Everybody wants to understand painting. Why is there no attempt to understand the song of the birds? Why does one love a night, a flower, everything that surrounds a man, without trying to understand it all?

–Pablo Picasso

The purpose of art is always, ultimately, to give pleasure—though our sensibilities may take time to catch up with the forms of pleasure that art in a given time may offer.

–Susan Sontag

Creativity is a yearning for immortality.

–Rollo May

A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.

–Brigitte Bardot

Art is the reasoned derangement of the senses.

–Kenneth Rexroth

Art is the perpetual motion of illusion.

–Bob Dylan

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boredom results from a deficit of sensory responsiveness to the external world.

–Dr. Estelle R. Ramey

A photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask.

–Susan Sontag

As is the case in all branches of art, success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by dint of hard work.

–Anna Pavlova

I rarely draw what I see. I draw what I feel in my body.

–Dame Barbara Hepworth

No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.

–John Ruskin

The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.

—Eugene Delacroix

Sculpture is more divine, and more like Nature,

That fashions all her works in high relief,

And that is sculpture. This vast ball, the Earth,

Was moulded out of clay, and baked in fire;

Men, women, and all animals that breathe

Are statues and not paintings.

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The love of gain never made a painter, but it has marred many.

–Washington Allston

Art is not an ornament in our lives anymore than education is. Both need to be woven into the total experience of a full life. If we look closely, we’ll see that art is education. Painting and sculpture and crafts educate our visual and tactile senses; music and drama teach us to listen and to reflect on the world around us. The arts sharpen our senses and teach us how to absorb information more quickly and on different levels. In today’s complex world, we need to teach our children how to master a multitude of inter-related facts.

–Joan Mondale

The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nations, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose—and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.

–John F. Kennedy

Talent is a combination of the gift of response and the gift of abstraction; art the organization of talent.

–John le Carre

The arts are the signature of a nation.

–Joan Mondale

An artist lives more passionately, more deeply, with more seeking for life and truth and beauty than any man in the world.

–Charlie Chaplin

What is art but a close clinging to a bit of life that you have looked into most deeply?

–Louise Brooks

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces. Never will the world know all it owes to them nor all they have suffered to enrich us. We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, a thousand intellectual delicacies, but we have no idea of their cost, to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthma, epilepsies, and the fear of death, which is worse than all the rest.

–Marcel Proust

The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.

—G. K. Chesterton

What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.

–Augustus Saint-Gaudens

There is no work of art that is without short cuts.

–André Gide

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.

–Friedrich Nietzsche

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

–John Ciardi

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

–Wynetka Ann Reynolds

I think I love and reverence all arts equally only putting my own just above the others; because in it I recognize the union and culmination of my own. To me it seems as if when God conceived the world, that was Poetry; He formed it, and that was Sculpture; He colored it, and that was Painting; He peopled it with living beings, and that was the grand, divine, eternal Drama.

–Charlotte Cushman

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.

–Mata Hari

Art is the objectification of feeling, and the subjectification of nature.

–Susanne K. Langer

In times of crisis, it is to art that one can turn to find the center of a society. Societies are not remembered by their battlements, but by their art. Art is an essential reminder of what it is in life that lasts, of why one lives. Art communicates, clarifies, celebrates, mourns and remembers. What else in our lives can do this?

–Bella Lewitzky

Art…does not take kindly to facts, is helpless to grapple with theories, and is killed outright by a sermon.

–Agnes Repplier

If we are to contribute to a livable society, we must strive to assure that poetry exists to temper technology; that music enlivens and enhances our educational growth; that dance and sculpture challenge our imaginations as much as any new scientific discovery.

–Wynetka Ann Reynolds

Simplicity is the essence of the great, the true, and the beautiful in art.

–George Sand

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art.

–Susan Sontag

Any authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and his audience.

–Dame Rebecca West

The arts are the rain forests of society. They produce the oxygen of freedom, and they are the early warning system when freedom is in danger.

–June Wayne

Every creative act draws on the past whether it pretends to or not. It draws on what it knows. There is no such thing, really, as a creative act in a vacuum.

–Ada Louise Huxtable

Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.

–Leo Tolstoy

Artists are the antennae of the race.

–Ezra Pound

Architecture begins where engineering ends.

–Walter Gropius

Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.

–Leo Tolstoy

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

–Leonardo da Vinci

A work should convey its entire meaning by itself, imposing it on the spectator even before he knows what the subject is.

–Marcel Proust

Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made.

–Ted Shawn

Things in which mediocrity is insupportable—poetry, music, painting, public speaking.

–La Bruyère

There are no exact rules, even by experts who absorb their lives with the history and knowledge of art, as to what is ‘good art.’ Opinions and beliefs about art keep changing with the time and course of history. Nothing remains stable but that art always remains. It is seen in its own context, time and circumstances. It cannot be measured scientifically—but then isn’t that also part and parcel of its beauty and mystery?

–Maureen Leon Acosta

Basically, I view artists as a kind of filter, with a sensitive radar that captures what is happening in our society. We…are part of the culture of our time, and we act as visual historians and critics, too, because art has a social function. Any society that doesn’t value art remains at the primitive, animal level. Art touches the soul of a culture.

–Humberto Calzada

The universality of the artist’s message is linked with the values of the society from which the ideas spring, though the artist may not necessarily agree with the values expressed.

–Felix Angel

Western cultures behave differently toward works of art than do tribal cultures. The ‘sacrifices’ Western cultures make are in housing their art works in the best structures designed by the best architects; and in servicing them with insurance, guards to protect them, conservators to maintain them, specialists to mount and display them, and the educated and upper classes to ‘view’ them. Tribal cultures keep art works in honored and sacred places in the home and elsewhere. They attend them by making sacrifices of blood (goat or chicken), libations of wine. They bathe, feed, and clothe them.

–Gloria Anzaldúa

Art is a reflection of life mirrored through the vision of its creator and the witness to that creation. It is a private dialogue between artist and viewer. Each artist contributes their individual perceptions stemming from personal life circumstances, social, historical and political contexts and religious and cultural influences. This unlimited pathway to understanding may be clear or confused, but it is always a search for a new awareness of reality. Art is a nonverbal, often universal, personal communication to those lucky enough to be open to it. This visual experience can evoke the full gamut of emotions from love, passion and exuberance to hatred and profound grief.

–Maureen Leon Acosta

The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs. It is a disease which arises from men not having sufficient power of expression to utter and get rid of the element of art in their being.

–G. K. Chesterton

It seems to me that the best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.

–Toni Morrison

The artist, always in an uphill battle, must engage truth.

–Sarah Wright

Art is confrontational in that it challenges someone’s way of thinking.

–Danny Glover

Why use three colors when you can use two? Why use five colors when you can use three? This idea…forces you to work with less, to work with a degree of economy, and out of that you…get a stronger work than you might get otherwise.

–Jacob Lawrence

All art makes us more powerfully whom we wish to become.

–Audre Lorde

That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.

–Edgar Allan Poe

Art is I, science is we.

–Claude Bernard

It’s not hard to understand modern art; if it hangs on a wall, it’s a painting; if you can walk around it, it’s a sculpture.

–Tom Stoppard

An artist who theorizes about his work is no longer artist but critic.

–H. G. Wells

Architecture aims at Eternity.

–Sir Christopher Wren

I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.

–John F. Kennedy

Architecture is the art that has the greatest power to alter decisively and tangibly how we live and to modify steadily how we feel.

–John Fraser

Art is not a means by which we escape from life but a stratagem by which we conquer life’s disorder.

–Alfred Barr, Jr.

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts, the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last.

–John Ruskin

Art results not when there is nothing that can be added, but when there is nothing that can be taken away.

–James O. Collins

Art starts alone—and convinces society later.

–Douglas Davis

Life and art are so inextricably interwoven that any change in life leads to a new movement in art.

–G. Nageswara Rao

As unnatural as dancing is, you have to find a natural way to do the unnatural.

–Gelsey Kirkland

The essence of the creative act is to see the familiar as strange.

Kaiser News

A capacity for childlike wonder, carried into adult life, typifies the creative person.

Kaiser News

Those trying to explain pictures are as a rule completely mistaken.

–Pablo Picasso

A still photographer is a mechanic, you know. He’s not an artist, despite all you read.

–Earl of Snowdon

Photography: I like the word ‘craftsman.’ I don’t know anything about art.

–Lee Friedlander

Architecture is the purest of the plastic arts, for it does not reproduce scenes from nature and it does not borrow any literary interest by representing subjects. It stands by itself on its own ground.

–C. Anstruther-Thomson

Architecture is the printing-press of all ages, and gives a history of the state of the society in which it was erected.

–Sydney, Lady Morgan

Architecture should be working on improving the environment of people in their homes, in their places of work, and their places of recreation. It should be functional and pleasant, not just in the image of the architect’s ego.

–Norma Merrick Sklarek

Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

–Rebecca West

Art is how a culture records its life, how it poses questions for the next generation and how it will be remembered.

–Marsha Norman

I cannot see that art is anything less than a way of making joys perpetual.

–Rebecca West

Art is at least in part a way of collecting information about the universe.

–Rebecca West

Art is an artificial organization of experience.

–Sara Maitland

The arts are life accelerated and concentrated.

–Edith Sitwell

What was any art but an effort to make a sheath, 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

Art is so much more real than life. Some art is much more real than some life, I mean.

–Rebecca West

This is what art is all about. It is weaving fabric from the feathers you have plucked from your own breast. But no one must ever see the process—only the finished bolt of goods. They must never suspect that that crimson thread running through the pattern is blood.

–Katherine Paterson

Art does the same things dreams do. We have a hunger for dreams and art fulfills that hunger. So much of real life is a disappointment. That’s why we have art.

–Joyce Carol Oates

Art is a framework, a kind of living trellis, on which public dreaming can shape itself.

–Elizabeth Janeway

Art must take reality by surprise.

–Françoise Sagan

Art is the medium in which emotion is expressed.

–Nadia Boulanger

A part of all art is to make silence speak. The things left out in painting, the note withheld in music, the void in architecture—all are as necessary and as active as the utterance itself.

–Freya Stark

Art is the expression of a man’s life, of his mode of being, of his relations with the universe.

–Vernon Lee

Art, true 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

By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing, art changes morals.

–Susan Sontag

The arts are good and providential in that they allow the soul to imitate the movements of love, and to feel love without its being returned—which, perhaps, is the only way of feeling it permanently.

–Princess Marthe Bibesco

In every art the desire to practice it precedes both the full ability to do so and the possession of something worthwhile to express by its means.

–Phyllis Bentley

Art…is as much a source of happiness for the beginner as for the master. One forgets everything in one’s work.

–Marie Bashkirtseff

No form of art repeats or imitates successfully all that can be said by another; the writer conveys his experience of life along a channel of communication closed to painter, mathematician, musician, film-maker.

–Storm Jameson

Art is not national. It is international. Music is not written in red, white and blue; it is written with the heart’s blood of the composer.

–Nellie Melba

One cannot demand of art that it pay you in any other way than in the satisfaction of the work itself.

–Uta Hagen

The reward of art is not fame or success, but intoxication; that is why so many bad artists are unable to live without it.

–Eileen Walkenstein

Clay. It’s rain, dead leaves, dust, all my dead ancestors. Stones that have been ground into sand. Mud. The whole cycle of life and death.

–Martine Vermeulen

Art in America has always been regarded as a luxury.

–Hallie Flanagan

What an artist is for is to tell us what we see but do not know that we see.

–Edith Sitwell

Off fall the wife, the mother, the lover, the teacher, and the violent artist takes over. I am I alone. I belong to no one but myself. I mate with no one but the spirit. I own no land, have no kin, no friend or enemy. I have no road but this one.

–Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Media saturation is probably very destructive to art. New movements get overexposed and exhausted before they have a chance to grow, and they turn to ashes in a short time. Some degree of time and obscurity is often very necessary to artists.

–Joyce Johnson

Real artists, it seems to me, are those who don’t repeat themselves.

–Joanna Russ

I…found myself saying to myself—I can’t live where I want to—I can’t go where I want to—I can’t do what I want to—I can’t even say what I want to….I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to and say what I wanted to when I painted as that seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn’t concern anybody but myself.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

The independence of the artist is one of the great safeguards of the freedom of the human spirit.

–C. V. Wedgwood

I am always watching for fear of getting feeble and passé in my work. I don’t want to trickle out. I want to pour till the pail is empty, the last bit going out in a gush, not in drops.

–Emily Carr

Ballet’s image of perfection is fashioned amid a milieu of wracked bodies, fevered imaginations, Balkan intrigue, and sulfurous hatreds where anything is likely, and dancers know it.

–Shana Alexander

The highest vocation of photography is to explain man to man.

–Susan Sontag

In art, as in literature, ugliness rendered with compassion is beauty.

–W. Joe Innis

Great art can communicate before it is understood.

–T. S. Eliot

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

–Claude Monet

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

–John Ruskin

Talent is like electricity — we do not understand electricity. We use it.

— Maya Angelou

The arts are a highway into the soul of the people.

–Arthur Miller

There is nothing new in art except talent.

–Anton Chekov

It takes immense genius to represent, simply and sincerely, what we see right in front of us.

–Edmond Duranty 

It has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty. We are immersed in beauty but our eyes have no clear vision.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.

–Ernst Fischer

The object of art is to give life shape.

–Jean Anouilh

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.

–Ansel Adams

Throughout history human beings have looked to the arts to make sense of experience.

–Jessica Davis

Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true.

–William Inge

The artist does not illustrate science (but) he frequently responds to the same interests that a scientist does.

–Lewis Mumford

To curb the machine and limit art to handicraft is a denial of opportunity.

–Lewis Mumford

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

Love your calling with passion. It is the meaning of life.

–Auguste Rodin

My art springs from my desire to have things in the world which would otherwise never be there.

—Carl Andre

Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.

—Baltasar Gracian

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

–Agnes de Mille

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

–Roy L. Smith

Struggle always comes before success. For most artists, when they have arrived at what the public and critics term success…all the pain and struggle—all the strife and anxiety that preceded—is forgotten.

–Jascha Heifetz

Life is very nice, but it lacks form. It’s the aim of art to give it some.

–Jean Anouilh

Great art does not call attention to itself.


An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.

–James McNeil Whistler

Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication.

–Claus Oldenburg

When you start a painting, it is somewhat outside you. At the conclusion, you seem to move inside the painting.

–Fernando Botero

There is no ‘must’ in art because art is free.

–Wassily Kandinsky

Abstract art isn’t simply a lack of realism. It’s rather a heightened depiction of what the subject really is.

–Curtis Verdun

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

–Joan Miro

If you work with abstract painting for a period of time, you may come to think of it as a melody, a song, a piece of beautiful music.

–Judy Betts

Great art picks up where nature ends.

–Marc Chagall

Fill a space in a beautiful way.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

–Edgar Degas

I applied streaks and blobs of colours onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could…

–Wassily Kandinsky

Art is what delineates the technically-correct dancer from the dancer who has skill and passion!

–Curtis Verdun

If apple is the language of the future, then art must be the core.

–Elliot W. Eisner

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

–Pablo Picasso

I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.

–Henri Matisse

All great art is due to the abstraction process.

–Curtis Verdun

Each painting has its own way of evolving. When the painting is finished, the subject reveals itself.

–William Baziotes

Art is a passion or it is nothing.

–Robert Fry

All painting – the painting of the past as well as of the present – shows us that its essential plastic means were only line and color.

–Piet Mondrian

A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.

–Paul Gardner

Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced.

–Hans Hofman

If art was defined simply by the ability to draw then my inkjet printer would be a greater artist than Michelangelo.

–Curtis Verdun

The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.

–Jackson Pollock

Painting is an attempt to come to terms with life. There are as many solutions as there are human beings.

–George Tooker

Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.

–Paul Cézanne

The truly modern artist is aware of abstraction in an emotion of beauty.

–Piet Mondrian

If we dare to stifle creative expression, we slur the names of all artists and offend their respective works.

–Curtis Verdun

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.

–Giorgio DeChirico

The purpose of art is not a rarified, intellectual distillate – it is life, intensified, brilliant life.

–Alain Arias-Misson

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.

–Marc Chagall

I paint not by sight but by faith. Faith gives you sight.

–Amos Ferguson

In whatever one does there must be a relationship between the eye and the heart.

–Henri Cartier-Besson

To stifle creative expression is to bind and gag our very souls.

–Curtis Verdun

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

–Paul Cézanne

It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.

–Mary Daly

The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.

–Piet Mondrian

The goal of abstract art is to communicate the intangible, that which eludes the photograph and normal seeing.

–Curtis Verdun

Living with and studying good paintings offers greater interest, variety and satisfaction than any other pleasure known to man.

–Dr. Albert C. Barnes

Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.

–Roy Adzak

The function of Art is to disturb. Science reassures.

–George Braque

The function of art is to free the spirit of man and to invigorate and enlarge his vision.

–Katherine Dreier

How boring the art world would be if we faithfully painted only what we see.

–Curtis Verdun

‘Abstract’ literally means to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract… a realistic or nonobjective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts.

–Richard Diebenkorn

Art is the only means by which one soul can truly touch another.

–Curtis Verdun

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.

–James McNeil Whistler

I have not tried to reproduce nature; I have represented it.

–Paul Cézanne

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.

–Carl Sagan

When you see a fish you don’t think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water… If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit.

–Constantin Brancusi

…That which they call abstract is the must realistic, because what is real is not the exterior but the idea, the essence of things.

–Constantin Brancusi

Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.

–George Jean Nathan

A work of art is a world in itself reflecting senses and emotions of the artist’s world.

–Hans Hofmann

Painting, like music, has nothing to do with the reproduction of nature, nor interpretation of intellectual meanings. Whoever is able to feel the beauty of colors and forms has understood non-objective painting.

–Hilla Rebay

I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

–Vincent van Gogh

Painting is easy for those that do not know how, but very difficult for those that do!

–Edgar Degas

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye – it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.

–Edvard Munch

Art is an effort to create, beside the real world, a more human world.

–André Maurois

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.

–Robert Motherwell

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

–Pablo Picasso

Painting is a language which cannot be replaced by another language. I don’t know what to say about what I paint, really.


A painting is good not because it looks like something, but because it feels like something.

–Phil Dike

The first virtue of a painting is to be a feast for the eyes.


He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

–St. Fancis of Assisi

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life.

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

–Leonardo Da Vinci

…the object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.

–Alberto Giacometti

Do not copy nature too much. Art is an abstraction.

–Paul Gauguin

I believe in Michelangelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of colour, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting; and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed.

–George Bernard Shaw

Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

Art is the path of the creator to his work.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more abstract is form, the more clear and direct its appeal.

–Wassily Kandinsky

The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint.

–Georgia O’Keeffe

The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.

–Francis Bacon

Art seems to me to be a state of soul more than anything else.

–Marc Chagall

Painting is a blind man’s profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.

–Pablo Picasso

There is a logic of colors, and it is with this alone, and not with the logic of the brain, that the painter should conform.

–Paul Cézanne

Art will remain the most astonishing activity of mankind born out of struggle between wisdom and madness, between dream and reality in our mind.

–Magdalena Abakanowicz

Art happens – no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about.

–James Abbot McNeill Whistler

All painting, no matter what you are painting, is abstract in that it’s got to be organized.

–David Hockney

No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.

–Edward Hopper

Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.


Art does not reproduce the visible; rather it makes it visible.

–Norma Jean Harris

For me a painting is like a story which stimulates the imagination and draws the mind into a place filled with expectation, excitement, wonder and pleasure.

–J. P. Hughston

Seeing is an experience. People, not their eyes, see. There is more to seeing than meets the eyeball.

–N. R. Hanson

To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.

–Samuel Beckett

If the vision of the clearest and the farthest seeing can be conveyed to the multitudes who see less well, the standard of human vision rises, and with it the level of mutual participation. We have a shared responsibility to enter into this process of shared experience at the highest capacity to which we can elevate our sensibilities.

–Richard Guggenheimer

I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.

–Orson Welles

All creative lives are miserable things. Your creative powers are declining, the things that you do best are harder to do. What greater misery can there be ?

–Jack Dunphy

The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.

–George Lois

Art is beauty, the perpetual invention of detail, the choice of words, the exquisite care of execution.

–Théophile Gautier

One eye sees, the other feels.

–Paul Klee

The perfection of art is to conceal art.

–Marcus Fabius Quintilian

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.

–Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

–Albert Einstein

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

–Albert Einstein

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.

–Jean-Michel Basquiat

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

–Albert Einstein

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

–Albert Einstein

Some people are just illustrators and some people are storytellers.

–Jim Amash

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.

–Arthur Schopenhauer

Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

Space is the breath of art.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

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

–Frank Lloyd Wright

Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition.

–Ed Norton

The arts are fundamental resources through which the world is viewed, meaning is created, and the mind is developed.

–Elliot W. Eisner

The cultivation of imagination is one of our most precious human resources. Too often, there is no agenda for the imagination in American education. The arts make imagination something that is fundamental to the enterprise of image making.

–Elliot W. Eisner

True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.

–Edith Wharton

In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create.

–Raoul Vaneigem

Fear isn’t what drives creative people. It’s more trust, and hope, and the challenge of doing something you haven’t done before. It’s not fear so much as it’s confidence.

–Steven Spielberg

The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, by so much more am I an artist.

–Vincent Van Gogh

A grain of madness is what is best in art.

–Vincent Van Gogh

Creativity is the residue of wasted time.

–Albert Einstein

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way to make life more bearable.

Kurt Vonnegut

When you’re an artist you have to have that selfishness to be alone and create great things to your satisfaction.

–Robert DeNiro

Do no focus on the past. Be future focused. If you’ve done something great or terrible in the past, forget it and go on and create the next thing.

–Steve Jobs

The sense of worth derived from creative work depends upon ‘recognition’ by others, which is never automatic. As a result, the path of self-realization, even when it is the only open one, is taken with reluctance. Men of talent have to be goaded to engage in creative work. The groans and laments of even the most gifted and prolific echo through the ages.

–Eric Hoffer

One is not quite certain that creativeness in the arts, literature, and science functions best in an environment of absolute freedom. Chances are that a relatively mild tyranny stimulates creativeness.

–Eric Hoffer

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Stephen King

There is no abstract art, you always have to begin with something.

–Pablo Picasso

Abstract art’s crucial question is ‘How can you think something that’s new?’

–Leah Dickerman

Ever since Duchamp’s urinal hit the scene in 1917, and possibly for a dozen or more decades before that, what has set artwork off from other things in the world is not what it looks like or what it references or anything it does, but the fact that we’ve been invited to contemplate it as art.

–Blake Gopnik

There’s not a way forward, because art’s games have simply exhausted themselves. Whatever ambitions a work of art may have, it ends up being just more of the same.

–Blake Gopnik

The fates of artists are condemned to a blind groping for success, without ever sensing where success might lie or knowing if it’s in reach.

–Blake Gopnik

Sciences are the how, and the humanities are the why.

–George Lucas

The humanities are the flower that blossoms on top of the ‘stem.’ (Sciene, Technology, Engineering, Math.)

–John Lithgow

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

—Pablo Picasso

Art may imitate wild nature; less often does it dare to place itself in the midst of it, and when it does, it may come out second best.

—John Hart

A work of art that one has to explain fails…its mission.

–Henry James

People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it–people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh or Mozart.

–Kurt Vonnegut

Art is the objectification of feeling.

–Herman Melville

Genius gives birth, talent delivers.

–Jack Kerouac

Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

The artist must say it without saying it.

–Duke Ellington

Talent is an accident of genes – and a responsibility.

–Alan Rickman

Art is the triumph over chaos.

–John Cheever

Happiness… it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

–Vincent Van Gogh

The concept that an artist would be revered by popular culture is an immediate dismissal of his relevance as an artist.

–Thomas Kinkade

The artist must be in his work like God in his Creation, invisible and all-powerful, so that he is felt everywhere but not seen.

–Gustave Flaubert

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

I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.

–Napoleon Bonaparte

A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Throughout history, there have been individuals and corporations with more money than they knew what to do with. Rather than burning it, they sometimes decided to give money to artists, becoming the artists’ patrons. It was sort of like getting a dog that could paint.

Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race

We put great energy into building houses to protect us from the elements, but once inside them we hang landscapes depicting what it is we are trying to escape. To be fair, if we try to hang our picture of the outdoors outdoors, they’d soon be ruined.

Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race

We appreciate art on many levels: for the skill of is execution (techne), for its power to represent the world (mimesis), for its intellectual reconciliation of man and universe through an act of creation (psoriasis). Not to mention the pretty colors, and how it goes with our drapes. Ultimately, art strives to capture and convey beauty. Some even consider art a direct window into the unseen world, a communion with essential truth…or something. None of us really know. What is beyond question is that all of of humans at least like the notion that such a communion might be possible, even if only so we can pretend we aren’t just slightly-less-than-random bunches of atoms. So same as religion, really. Anyway, before you judge, understand that being overly skeptical about art is just as easy as being gullible about it.

Earth (The Book) A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race

There can be nothing exclusive about substantial art. It comes directly out of the heart of the experience of life and thinking about life and living life.

–Charles Ives

The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread.

–David Herbert Lawrence

Art is literacy of the heart

—Elliot W. Eisner

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.

–Marcel Proust

Art is man’s nature; nature is God’s art.

–Philip James Bailey

It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God’s heaven.

–Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

–Rita Mae Brown

I have been no more than a medium, as it were.

–Henri Matisse

To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art – that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.

–Charles Baudelaire

I think this confusion leads intellectuals and artists themselves to believe that the elite arts and humanities are a kind of higher, exalted form of human endeavor.

–Steven Pinker

Not what man knows but what man feels, concerns art. All else is science.

–Bernard Berenson

There can be nothing exclusive about substantial art. It comes directly out of the heart of the experience of life and thinking about life and living life.

–Charles Ives

Researchers found that telling people to imagine themselves a year in the future (a tactic meant to induce abstract thinking) increased the chances that they’d say unconventional pieces such as Warhol’s Brillo Boxes qualify as art.

–Matthew Hutson

The funny thing about [one’s own] talent is that you are blind to it. You just can’t see what it is when you have it…When you have talent and see things in a particular way, you are amazed that other people can’t see it.

–Unknown Artist

The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.

–Auguste Renoir

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

—Henry Miller

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.

—Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature’s monotony. —Guillaume Apollinaire

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.

—Leo Burnett

Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.

—George Eastman

Aesthetic matters are fundamental for the harmonious development of both society and the individual.

—Friedrich Schiller

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’

—Erma Bombeck

An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.

—Charles Bukowski

My painting carries with it the message of pain.

—Frida Kahlo

Timing and arrogance are decisive factors in the successful use of talent.

—Marya Mannes

An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which at the same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportion.

—Pierre Charles Baudleaire

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

—Marie Laurencin

And since geometry is the right foundation of all painting, I have decided to teach its rudiments and principles to all youngsters eager for art.

—Albrecht Durer 

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

In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.

—Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Art is science made clear.

—Jean Cocteau

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.

—Albert Einstein

Art is  how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.


Pronounce the word artist, and you are apt to conjure up the image of a solitary genius. A sacred aura still attaches to the word, a sense of one in contact with the numinous. ‘He’s an artist,’ we’ll say in tones of reverence about an actor or musician or director. ‘A true artist,’ we’ll solemnly proclaim our favorite singer or photographer, meaning someone who appears to dwell upon a higher plane. Vision, inspiration, mysterious gifts as from above; such are some of the associations that continue to adorn the word.

—William Deresiewicz

Before we thought of artists as geniuses, we thought of them as artisans. The words, by no coincidence, are virtually the same. Art itself derives form a root that means to ‘join’ or ‘fit together’—that is, to make or craft, a sense that survives in phrases like the art of cooking and words like artful, in the sense of ‘crafty.’ We may think of Bach and as a genius, but he thought of himself as an artisan, a maker. Shakespeare wasn’t an artist, he was a poet, a denotation that is rooted in another word for make. He was also a playwright, a term worth pausing over. A playwright isn’t someone who writes plays; he is someone who fashions them, like a wheelwright or shipwright.

—William Deresiewicz

The term fine arts, ‘those which appeal to the mind and the imagination,’ was first recorded in 1767.

—William Deresiewicz

Every great and original writer must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.

—William Wordsworth

Always think that in any area of the arts, you get maybe ten percent of people who are creative, original… and the rest are generally following on, copying.

—Hugh Hopper

Every artist undresses his subject, whether human or still life. It is his business to find essences in surfaces, and what more attractive and challenging surface than the skin around a soul?

—Richard Corliss

I think of art as the highest level of creativity. To me, it is one of the greatest sources of enjoyment.

—David Rockefeller

I also paint, draw and I’m into film and photography as well, and the same thing applies to all of them. You’re presenting this material to the general public and hoping that they’re going to ‘get’ what you’re doing. Some don’t, some do.

—Paul Kane

An art aims, above all, at producing something beautiful which affects not our feelings but the organ of pure contemplation, our imagination.

—Eduard Hanslick

The worth of a civilization or a culture is not valued in the terms of its material wealth or military power, but by the quality and achievements of its representative individuals – its philosophers, its poets and its artists.

—Herbert Read

Artists are responsible for curating the collective consciousness of a people.

—Doug Wright

The Dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing.

—Doris Humphrey

Any art communicates what you’re in the mood to receive.

—Larry Rivers

It is our responsibility as artists to insulate ourselves from the whims of the marketplace. I would rather reach just a few collectors who feel touched or somehow elevated by my art than thousands of people who are momentarily amused by it. And yet, I will continue to use networking to expose my art to as many people as I possibly can, to find those few who appreciate it and are willing to pay for it. I just need to develop a very thick skin until I do. Not so easy for an artist.

—Ann Feldman

More people are exposed to movies than to most other forms of art.

—Richard King

The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge

How do you make any sense of history, art or literature without knowing the stories and iconography of your own culture and all the world’s main religions?

—Polly Toynbee

The ’20s ended in an era of extravagance, sort of like the one we’re in now. There was a big crash, but then the country picked itself up again, and we had some great years. Those were the days when American believed in itself. I was happy and proud to be painting it.

—Norman Rockwell

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him.

—Carl Jung

The only thing an artist has to remember is to never lose faith in his vision.

—James Lee Burke

The fact is that even art is subject to fashion.

—Hugo Pratt

The love of beauty in its multiple forms is the noblest gift of the human cerebrum.

—Alexis Carrel

The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

—Agnes de Mille

What can be shown, cannot be said.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

A Salgado photograph is instantly recognizable. Black-and-white. Biblical in scope. Human. Severe. Art critics often focus on what is in the foreground: a grimace, a twisted body made beautiful, suffering as art. But it’s his attention to the background that matters most. Salgado is a systems thinker, keenly aware of the larger forces that create the moments he captures. In his 1991 photos of a burning, post-invasion Kuwait, firefighters are framed by flaming oil wells set ablaze by departing Iraqi troops, symbols of an industry and region torn from its foundation.

—McKenzie Funk

Every child is an artist until he’s told he’s not an artist.

—John Lennon

Most people think an artist tries to be original, but originality is the last thing that develops in the artist.

—Lukas Foss

To sit for one’s portrait is like being present at one’s own creation.

—Alexander Smith

What is art? It is the response of man’s creative soul to the call of the Real.

—Rabindranath Tagore

An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.

—Henri Matisse

Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth.

—John Ruskin

The capacity to be puzzled is indeed the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.

—Erich Fromm

Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

—William S. Burroughs

Art is a private thing, the artist makes it for himself; a comprehensible work is the product of a journalist. We need works that are strong, straight, precise, and forever beyond understanding.

—Kenneth Tynan

Simultaneous contrast is not just a curious optical phenomenon – it is the very heart of painting.

—Josef Albers

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

—Claude Monet

The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.

—James Baldwin

Influences are enriching, and they can be found in every work of art, even the most original.

—Lukas Foss

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.

—Henri Cartier-Bresson

The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.

—Bertrand Russell

That is what the title of artist means: one who perceives more than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.

—Edward Gordon Craig

There is something magical in seeing what you can do, what texture and tone and colour you can produce merely with a pen point and a bottle of ink.

—Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Dance changes the world by changing the heart.

—Francisco Gella

Usually I am on a work for a long stretch, until a moment arrives when the air of the arbitrary vanishes, and the paint falls into positions that feel destined.

—Philip Guston

Life isn’t long enough for love and art.

—W. Somerset Maugham

When my soul is hurting,

Dance makes me feel better.

When I’m overwhelmed,

Dance helps me forget for a while.

When I face struggles,

Dance inspires me to keep going.

When I lose confidence,

Dance gives it back.

I have been given

One of the greatest gifts in the world.



Good taste is the enemy of creativity

—Pablo Picasso

There are infinite shadings of light and shadows and colors… it’s an extraordinarily subtle language. Figuring out how to speak that language is a lifetime job.

—Conrad Hall

No matter how much you study, no matter how much you know, the side of your brain that has the smarts won’t necessarily help you in making art.

—Maya Lin

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

You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.

—Merce Cunningham

Art is more godlike than science. Science discovers; art creates.

—John Opie

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.

—Donald Knuth

The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.

—William James

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

—Oscar Wilde

When I finish a painting, it usually looks as surprising to me as to anyone else.

—Howard Hodgkin

I say that good painters imitated nature but that bad ones vomited it.

—Miguel de Cervantes

When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied ‘Only stand out of my light.’ Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.

—John W. Gardner

The final purpose of art is to intensify, even, if necessary, to exacerbate, the moral consciousness of people.

—Norman Mailer

Art Gallery: A place where the dead will never die.

—Dan L. Miller

Art is the signature of civilizations.

—Beverly Sills

A lot of the reason why I admire art from the Islamic world is that in a lot of these countries figurative art is religiously prohibited, and so instead, they did the most intellectually rigorous but sensual abstraction in the world…It’s incredibly lush, but it’s based on math. All my sense of wonderment is aroused by this.

—Molly Crabapple

I was just sick of my work. I hated everything I had done. So I decided to lock myself in a hotel room, put paper over the walls and draw until I’d bled all of my clichés out of me and something new emerged.

—Molly Crabapple

I didn’t have the easiest path to making the sort of life I wanted, and I certainly had a lot of rejection early on, as many artists have. A lot of people who didn’t believe in me, as many artists have. But I think that sort of pain, the parts of you that are a bit broken, are the parts of you that are most interesting in a lot of ways. They’re the parts of you that give you motivation to keep creating art and to keep fighting. That sort of chip on your shoulder can turn into a diamond.

—Molly Crabapple

‘You must change your life.’ Those are the severe and startling words that conclude a renowned sonnet Rilke wrote in 1908, after an encounter with an ancient marble torso in the Louvre. They suggest that an experience of art is akin to a conversion experience, that an encounter with art confers not only ravishments but also obligations, that a sense of the beauty of existence entails a sense of the gravity of existence. Even the most transient of impressions may be a summons—a call to commitment, to a spirit of seriousness about what is at stake in a life.

—Leon Wieseltier

Criticism is an art form in its own right; that is exists to enhance the glory of the other arts; that it is an impossible activity; that it is necessary and vital to human self-understanding; that it can never die; that it is in perpetual danger of extinction.

—A. O. Scott

The more you do it, whatever you do, the better you become at it. And if you love it, you become even better.

—Sergio Aragonés

The literary term for describing in words what you see in a  picture is ekphrasis. The practice can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle, through the Renaissance and the works of the Romantic poets, all the way into literature of the 19th century. Typically, the word ekphrastic is applied to poetry. Consider Keats’ ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn,’ Homer’s vivid descriptions in the Iliad, or W. H. Auden’s retelling of Homer’s story in his own poem ‘The Shield of Achilles.’

—Donna Baier Stein

The world is but a canvas for our imagination.

—Henry David Thoreau

Beauty awakens the soul to act.

—Dante Alighieri

Treat a work of art like a prince. Let it speak to you first.

—Arthur Schopenhauer

If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.


The old aphorism ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is most often attributed to Arthur Brisbane, a famous newspaperman. In 1911, Brisbane urged members of the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club, ‘Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.’ He believed in catching a reader’s attention fast and forcefully. Don’t waste your time fumbling for words, he was saying, when an image can get the job done better.

—Donna Baier Stein

Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.

—Stephen King

Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic.

—Stephen King

It is not enough to have great thoughts before doing the work. The brush stroke at the moment of contact carries inevitably the exact state of being of the artist at the exact moment into the work, and there it is to be seen and read by those who can read such signs, and to be read later by the artist himself with perhaps some surprise, as a revelation of himself.

—Robert Henri

Whoever absorbs a work of art into himself goes through the same process as the artist who produced it—only he reverses the order of the process and increases its speed.

—Friedrich Hebbel

In every human being there is the artist, and whatever his activity, he has an equal chance with any to express the result of his growth and his contact with life…I don’t believe any real artist cares whether what he does is ‘art’ or not. Who, after all, knows what is art? I think the real artists are too busy with just being and growing and acting (on canvas or however) like themselves, to worry about the end. This end is what it will be. The object is intense living, fulfillment, the great happiness in creation.

—Robert Henri

Life has at last been perfectly formed and measured to man’s requirements; and in art man knows himself truly the master of his existence. It is this sense of mastery which gives man that raised and delighted consciousness of self which art provokes.

—Lascelles Abercrombie

The painting was the painter as the poem is the poet, that every choice one made alone—every word chosen or rejected, every brush stroke laid or not laid down—betrayed one’s character. Style is character.

—Joan Didion

When I paint a red hill you say it is too bad that I don’t always paint flowers. A flower touches almost everyone’s heart. A red hill doesn’t touch everyone’s heart.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.

—Andy Warhol

It is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.

—Vida D. Scudder

In Europe, people in the arts are considered part of the intelligentsia; they are considered part of the elite.

—Ron Silver

Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now.

—Frank Lloyd Wright

The Three Laws of Art

1. Create: The worst it can do is suck.

2. Create again: Bad art happens to good artists.

3. Just create: Art is cheaper than therapy.

Coldstone Press

It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one’s memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory.

—Edgar Degas

I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible.


Art is a journey of excellence not a goal of perfection.

—Jacqueline Patricks

Art is humanity’s most essential, most universal language.

–Ernest Boyer

Art is the accomplice of love. Take love away and there is no longer art.

—Remy de Gourmand

The art of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express themselves first in the human person.

–Havelock Ellis

It is not important that you should know what a dance means. It is only important that you should be stirred.

–Martha Graham

A child being himself—a somebody—often reveals through movement many personal characteristics which might not otherwise be evident.

–Gladys Andrews Fleming

On with the dance! Let joy be unconfin’d.

–Lord Byron

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

–Martha Graham

The value of dance as an art…is in helping children achieve an awareness of the importance of organizing their emotions and of communicating them through the forms of movement.

—Geraldine Dimondstein

Dance—freeing the body from needless inhibitions and breaking down some of the unessential reserves—frees the personality for a wider and more satisfying life.

–Margaret H’Doubler

We all have the artistic need for self-expression through movement; it is easy to see that the claim of dance as a basic art form is a strong one.

—Betty Thoman

When a dance is there for us, we intuitively know that it is there; something alive and vibrant is happening on the stage, and as we are totally engaged in our experience of what is happening, so we too are alive and vibrant; we have a lived experience.

–Maxine Sheets

Dance is just discovery, discovery, discovery.

–Martha Graham

Dance as an art form is both an impressive and expressive experience. Although the act of dancing is expressive (that is, from the ‘inside out’), it draws upon impressions in the environment (from the ‘outside in’). Thus, spontaneity does not occur in a vacuum, but emerges from sensory data which provide the sources for expression of ideas or moods.

–Geraldine Dimondstein

Dancing is the body made poetic.

–Ernest Bacon

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique.

–Martha Graham

Movements, like words, may be thought of as symbols of meaning, and in this sense we may consider movement to be comparable to speech to language, by which we communicate with others.

–Alice A. Gates

Dancing, because (it is) dependent on human habits and action, is the most malleable and changeable. It is also the oldest art. It is the mother or germinal form….Before man can do anything, he must draw breath, he must move. Movement is the source and condition of life.

–Agnes DeMille

The artist is seen like a producer of commodities, like a factory that turns out refrigerators.

—Sol LeWitt

The merit of painting lies in the exactness of reproduction. Painting is a science and all sciences are based on mathematics. No human inquiry can be a science unless it pursues its path through mathematical exposition and demonstration.

—Leonardo da Vinci

The power of daring anything their fancy suggest, as always been conceded to the painter and the poet.


What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?

—Rollo May

Take the sum of human achievement in action, in science, in art, in literature—subtract the work of the men above forty, and while we should miss great treasures, even priceless treasures, we would practically be where we are today….The effective, moving, vitalizing work of the world is done between the ages of twenty-five and forty.

–Sir William Osler

Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning.

—Katherine Anne Porter

Advertising is the greatest art form of the 20th century.

—Marshall McLuhan

I don’t think anyone starts doing creative work because they’re serving humanity. They want to get laid; they want to get money; they want to get attention.

—Richard Gere

The plays of natural lively children are the infancy of art. Children live in a world of imagination and feeling. They invest the most insignificant object with any form they please, and see in it whatever they wish to see.

–Adam Gottlob Oehlenschlager

To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.

—Matthew Arnold

The texts of man’s achievements are not written exclusively in words. They are written, as well, in architecture, paintings, sculpture, drawing, photography, and in urban, graphic, landscape, and industrial design.

—J. Carter Brown

Music, dance, painting, and theater are keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment. Children should be handed these keys at an early age. Yet, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers, boards of education in only 13 states specified the arts within formal statements of educational goals….A study by George Hardiman and Andra Johnson in Art Education found that elementary schools commit only 4 percent of their school week to art instruction, with only a quarter of that provided by trained art teachers. An elementary school that treats the arts as the province of a few gifted children, or views them only as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. Children’s imaginations yearn for the chance to transcend the ordinary, to hear and see what they have not heard and seen.

—William J. Bennett

The Arts are fundamental resources through which the world is viewed, meaning is created, and the mind developed. To neglect the contribution of the Arts in education, either through inadequate time, resources, or poorly trained teachers, is to deny children access to one of the most stunning aspects of their culture and one of the most potent means for developing their minds.

—Elliot W. Eisner

The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

—Elliot W. Eisner

The arts are called liberal, because they enable those who practise them to live in freedom.

–Tirso de Molina

The curriculum of the school should give the student access to the important cultural tools available through which intelligence can be expanded. Among the most important of these tools are the arts.

–Elliot Eisner

(Because) it is the intellect which dominates schooling … the specifically soul making subjects- literature, drama, music, the visual arts- are progressively ‘de-souled’ as the child progresses through school.

—Dr. Bernie Neville

Landscape is to American painting what sex and psychoanalysis are to the American novel.

—Robert Hughes

Casals says music fills him with the wonder of life and the ‘incredible marvel’ of being a human. Ives says it expands his mind and challenges him to be a true individual. Bernstein says it is enriching and ennobling. To me, that sounds like a good cause for making music and the arts an integral part of every child’s education. Studying music and the arts elevates children’s education, expands students’ horizons, and teaches them to appreciate the wonder of life.

—Richard Riley

History tells what man has done; art, what man has made; literature, what man has felt; religion, what man has believed; philosophy, what man has thought.

–Benjamin C. Leeming

Culture is the habit of being pleased with the best and knowing why.

–Henry Van Dyke

The center of Western culture is Greece, and we have never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of that ancient civilization.

—Stephen Gardiner

That is what the title of artist means: one who perceives more than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.

—Edward Gordon Craig

The noblest works and foundations have proceeded from childless men.

–Francis Bacon

As the eye is the best composer, so light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

–Oscar Wilde

The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity. A work of art is an abstract or epitome of the world. It is the result or expression of nature, in miniature. For, although the works of nature are innumerable and all different, the result or the expression of them all is similar and single. Nature is a sea of forms radically alike and even unique. A leaf, a sun-beam, a landscape, the ocean, make an analogous impression on the mind. What is common to them all, — that perfectness and harmony, is beauty. The standard of beauty is the entire circuit of natural forms, — the totality of nature; which the Italians expressed by defining beauty ‘il piu nell’ uno.’ Nothing is quite beautiful alone: nothing but is beautiful in the whole. A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace. The poet, the painter, the sculptor, the musician, the architect, seek each to concentrate this radiance of the world on one point, and each in his several work to satisfy the love of beauty which stimulates him to produce. Thus is Art, a nature passed through the alembic of man. Thus in art, does nature work through the will of a man filled with the beauty of her first works.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

—Andy Warhol

Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant.

—John Petit-Senn

Choreography isn’t a kind of magical thing. I really want them to know that’s true—even with technique. None of this is magic; it’s hard work. I always say to them, you think writing a paper is bad, you should try this! But it’s more than the end-product that’s the masterpiece here. After all, anybody who does this seriously and sincerely, no matter what their technique level, can create something quite lovely. The most valuable accomplishment is the process of how you got there. Number one, you wanted to communicate something that was inside of you and you didn’t want to write it or paint it, you wanted to create an image in movement. Number two, you had to do it in a way that was yours—not somebody else’s—not a teacher who comes and says now do this step and this step. This is about developing your own expressive language of movement. And number three, you had to work with somebody to figure this thing out. It’s not like this dance happens spontaneously. There is this process that you have to work through together: moving, watching, composing, experimenting, reflecting, rehearsing, and critiquing—finding new ways to express your ideas. This is what making a dance is all about.

—Rieneke Zessoules

Good art however ‘immoral’ is wholly a thing of virtue. Good art can NOT be immoral. By good art I mean art that bears true witness, I mean the art that is most precise.

—Ezra Pound

The real artist has no idea that he is sacrificing himself for art. He does what he does for one reason and one reason only—he can’t help doing it.

—Alma Gluck

I see architecture not as Gropius did, as a moral venture, as truth, but as invention, in the same way that poetry or music or painting is invention.

—Michael Graves

Nobody ever told me, ‘Art is this.’ This was good luck in a way because I would have had to spend half of my life forgetting everything that I had been told, which is what happens with most students in schools of fine arts.

—Fernando Botero

Scientific research and other studies have demonstrated that arts education can enhance American students’ math and language skills and improve test scores which in turn increase chances of higher education and good jobs in the future. —Thad Cochran

Not only are most of our citizens fathomlessly ignorant of the glories of American literature, a fast-growing percentage of our students are no longer taught much about any works of American art, be they novels, paintings, symphonies or ballets.

—Terry Teachout

The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life.

—Ralph Ellison

You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.

—Gustave Flaubert

A book is a work of art; it exists for its own sake. The purpose of art is to make a gift that someone else finds of value.

–Kurt Vonnegut

All artists have one quality that is priceless—eternal childhood.

–Rod Steiger

If Art does not enlarge men’s sympathies, it does nothing morally.

—George Eliot

You can’t enjoy art or books in a hurry.

—E. A. Bucchianeri

Art’s function is the widening and better ordering of human experiences. The more of the human personality that is engaged, the better the life.

–Vernon Hall, Jr.

Architecture is a science arising out of many other sciences, and adorned with much and varied learning; by the help of which a judgment is formed of those works which are the result of other arts.

—Marcus V. Pollio

I’m always going to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock—that’s a matter of fact—[but] I painted before Pollock, during Pollock, after Pollock.

—Lee Krasner

Women are more likely to use found or reclaimed objects….for instance, reclaimed wood, crates, and things…found on the street. They often make impermanent things. And unlike generations of men who went through shop class and therefore know how to weld and build, women tend to use the arts they learned in home economics—sewing, knitting, weaving.

—Sarah Boxer

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

–John Adams

One problem with the marvelous technology that is emerging to empower our minds and science is that it so often neglects music, art, poetry and drama—that is, the spiritual. Our problems are not just scientific and intellectual. We can know what must be done and how to do it…and still not do it.

–Parker Rossman

You know…that a blank wall is an appalling thing to look at. The wall of a museum — a canvas — a piece of film — or a guy sitting in front of a typewriter. Then, you start out to do something — that vague thing called creation. The beginning strikes awe within you.

–Edward Steichen

Literature, although it stands apart by reason of the great destiny and general use of its medium in the affairs of men, is yet an art like other arts. Of these we may distinguish two great classes: those arts, like sculpture, painting, acting, which are representative, or as used to be said very clumsily, imitative; and those, like architecture, music, and the dance, which are self-sufficient, and merely presentative.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

When experiencing a work of art, a curious exchange takes place; the work projects its aura, and we project our own emotions and precepts on the work. The melancholy in Michelangelo’s architecture is fundamentally the viewer’s sense of his/her own melancholy enticed by the authority of the work. Enigmatically, we encounter ourselves in the work.

—Juhani Pallasmaa

Cubism is a part of the daily life in Spain, it is in Spanish architecture. The architecture of other countries always follows the line of the landscape . . . but Spanish architecture always cuts the lines of the landscape.

—Gertrude Stein

If a work of architecture consists of forms and contents that combine to create a strong fundamental mood powerful enough to affect us, it may possess the qualities of a work of art. This art has, however, nothing to do with interesting configurations or originality. It is concerned with insights and understanding, and above all truth. Perhaps poetry is unexpected truth. It lives in stillness. Architecture’s artistic task is to give this still expectancy a form. The building itself is never poetic. At most, it may possess subtle qualities, which, at certain moments, permit us to understand something that we were never able to understand in quite this way before.

—Peter Zumthor

Construction is the art of making a meaningful whole out of many parts. Buildings are witnesses to the human ability to construct concrete things. I believe that the real core of all architectural work lies in the act of construction. At the point in time concrete materials are assembled and erected, the architecture we have been looking for becomes part of the real world.

—Peter Zumthor

Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.

—Julia Morgan

Architecture is a art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being. —Luis Barragan

A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.

—Lord Byron

Washington, D.C., has everything that Rome, Paris and London have in the way of great architecture—great power bases. Washington has obelisks and pyramids and underground tunnels and great art and a whole shadow world that we really don’t see. —Dan Brown

I search for surprise in my architecture. A work of art should cause the emotion of newness. —Oscar Niemeyer

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

—Frank Lloyd Wright

Architecture is art, nothing else.

—Philip Johnson

I believe very strongly, and have fought since many years ago—at least over 30 years ago—to get architecture not just within schools, but architecture talked about under history, geography, science, technology, art.

—Richard Rogers

The art of dancing stands at the source of all the arts that express themselves first in the human person. The art of building, or architecture, is the beginning of all the arts that lie outside the person; and in the end they unite.

—Havelock Ellis

Every one who has a heart, however ignorant of architecture he may be, feels the transcendent beauty and poetry of the mediaeval churches.

—Goldwin Smith

We need to stop looking to politicians to make our world better. Politicians don’t make the world a better place. Everything that’s ever made the world a better place has come from inventors, engineers, scientists, teachers, artists, builders, philosophers, healers, and people that choose love over hate.

—Don Freeman

When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.

—Pablo Picasso

A knowledge of Greek thought and life, and of the arts in which the Greeks expressed their thought and sentiment, is essential to high culture. A man may know everything else, but without this knowledge he remains ignorant of the best intellectual and moral achievements of his own race.

–Charles Eliot Norton

If your creation is taking 99% perspiration, it stinks and you need more inspiration.

—Kelly Bryson

The creative process, so far as we are able to follow it at all, consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image, and in elaborating and shaping this image into the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present, and so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life. Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking.

—Carl Jung

I was not out to paint beautiful pictures; even painting good pictures was not important to me. I wanted only to help the truth burst forth.

—Alice Miller

To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.

—Auguste Rodin

I’ve never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn’t made money with it.

—Laurie Anderson

Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.

—Vincent Van Gogh

That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art.

—John Locke

We make fun of people Instagramming their food, but lest we forget that during the Renaissance, lots of artists were just painting bowl sod fruit.


When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favor of the war effort, he simply replied, ‘Then what are we fighting for?’


Art does NOT come from the mind. It does not come from your rational, analytical faculties. It does not come from ideas. It does not come from theories. It does not come from philosophies. You don’t write a book in order to express a theme or make symbols. That’s NOT the process. Art comes from the place where you dream. It comes from your unconscious. It comes from your white-hot center. It comes from the compost heap.

—Robert Olen Butler

The picture alone, without the written word, leaves half the story untold.

—James Lafferty

The human body is the best work of art.

—Jess C. Scott

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

When I think of art I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye; it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection.

—Agnes Martin

A work-room should be like an old shoe; no matter how shabby, it’s better than a new one.

—Willa Cather

I really don’t have a theme when I start a sculpture. The rock guides me to the final sculpture. I think that is true for many creative sculpture artists.

—Jimmy Carl Black

Photos actively promote nostalgia…by slicing out a moment and freezing it.

—Susan Sontag

As an artist, you don’t think about the parabola or the arc you’re describing or where you’re going to ultimately end up, you’re just kind of crawling around, seeing what’s out there.

—Michael Nesmith

The Japanese have a wonderful sense of design and a refinement in their art. They try to produce beautiful paintings with the minimum number of strokes.

—David Rockefeller

To be sure, the life of an artist can be enhanced with the sociality of a club. Who wouldn’t want cookies and see a member giving a demo? I prefer a club with a different twist, one in which we all paint together on location.

—Michael Chesley Johnson

No art form exists in a vacuum. The impressionists were friends and rivals who hung around in the same cafés, shared, traded and borrowed, and pushed one another forward. Dancers learn from dancers. New musical genres develop because artists keep responding to one another.

—Tess Callahan

Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.

—Edward Weston

Look at the artifacts being discovered there [Africa], that are proving over and over again, how the black man had great, fine, sensitive civilizations before the white man was out of the caves. Below the Sahara, in the places where most of America’s Negroes’ foreparents were kidnapped, there is being unearthed some of the finest craftsmanship, sculpture and other objects, that has never been seen by modern man. Some of these things now are on view in such places as New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Gold work of such find tolerance and workmanship that it has no rival. Ancient objects produced by black hands… refined by those black hands with results that no human hands today can equal.

History has been so ‘whitened’ by the white man that even the black professors have known little more than the most ignorant black man about the talents and rich civilizations and cultures of the black man of millenniums ago.

—Malcolm X

I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.

—W. Somerset Maugham

The most stunning moment I had as a student at Harvard was in a fine arts survey course with the great Seymour Slive. This was in a dark lecture hall, and Slive held a little clicker in his hand, going through images of each period of art. Suddenly, up came this beautiful, blazing Mark Rothko painting. Six or seven guys jeered, and Slive turned on the lights. Trembling with rage, he said, ‘You don’t know what people sacrifice to create art, and don’t you ever dare laugh at art again.’

—John Lithgow

I’ve been taking photographs for about 20 years now. I love to be the anonymous observer, capturing small dramas that no one else has noticed.

—Jessica Lange

I know what I am looking at, but what am I seeing?


Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.

—Walker Evans

It seems likely that many of the young who don’t wait for others to call them artists, but simply announce that they are, don’t have the patience to make art.

—Pauline Kael

Art has emerged from the human brain for tens of thousands of years, and every human culture makes it. Yet scientists are only beginning to understand how the brain perceives and produces art, and why.

Like so many artworks, the brain is largely an object of mystery.

One secret yet to be discovered is how the fragile folds of matter locked inside our skulls cannot only conceive art, create it and contemplate it, but can also experience being transported by it, out of the head, out of the body, out of space and time and reality itself.

—Sarah L. Kaufman

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

—Edward de Bono

Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.

—John Berger

Artist—musicians, painters, writers, poets, always seem to have had the most accurate perception of what is really going on around them, not the official version or the popular perception of contemporary life.

—Billy Joel

All my life as an artist I have asked myself: What pushes me continually to make sculpture? I have found the answer. art is an action against death. It is a denial of death.

—Jacques Lipchitz

There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.

—Ernst Haas

By 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us. Einstein famously said, ‘A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.’

—Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Einstein famously said, ‘A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.’ He was extreme in his assessment. And wrong. Dean Keith Simonton, at the University of California at Davis, a luminary among researchers on age and creativity, synthesized numerous studies to demonstrate a typical age-creativity curve: creativity rises rapidly as a career commences, peaks about 20 years into the career, at about age 40 or 45, and then enters a slow, age-related decline.

—Ezekiel J. Emanuel

The principle factor in my success has been an absolute desire to draw constantly. I never decided to be an artist. Simply, I couldn’t stop myself from drawing. I drew for my own pleasure. I never wanted to know whether or not someone liked my drawings. I have never kept one of my drawings. I drew on walls, the school blackboard, odd bits of paper, the walls of barns. Today I’m still as fond of drawings as when I was a kid – and that was a long time ago – but, surprising as it may seem, I never thought about the money I would receive for my drawings. I simply drew them.

Winsor McCay

Every creative action disturbs the universe. 

—E. L. Konigsburg

Why does no one speak of the cultural advantages of the country? For example, is a well groomed, ecologically kept, sustainably fertile farm any less cultural, any less artful, than paintings of fat angels on church ceilings? 

Gene Logsdon

Half of all the great art and literature in existence went unrecognised

during the lifetimes of its creators. 

Alastair Reynolds

Good art is always dangerous, always open-ended. Once you put it out in the world you lose control of it; people will fit it into their minds in all sorts of different ways. 

Greil Marcus

It is very good advice to believe only what an artist does, rather than what he says about his work.

—David Hockney

An Italian wishing to return Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece to its homeland stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Museum officials swear they recovered the painting in 1913, but the theft launched our modern age of artistic skepticism: some still think the painting on display is a copy.

—Erin L. Thompson

Leonardo da Vinci liked to think that he was as good at engineering as he was painting, and though this was not actually the case…the basis for his creativity was an enthusiasm for interweaving diverse disciplines. With a passion both playful and obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, mechanics, art, music, optics, birds, the heart, flying machines, geology, and weaponry. He wanted to know everything there was to know about everything that could be known. By standing astride the intersection of the arts and the sciences, he became history’s most creative genius.

His science informed his art. He studied human skulls, making drawings of the bones and teeth, and conveyed the skeletal agony of St. Jerome in the Wilderness. He explored the mathematics of optics, showing how light rays enter the eye, and produced magical illusions of changing visual perspectives in The Last Supper.

His greatest triumph of combining art, science, optics, and illusion was the smile of the Mona Lisa, which he started working on in 1503 and continued laboring over nearly until his death 16 years later. He dissected human faces, delineating the muscles that move the lips, and combined that knowledge with a science of how the retina processes perceptions. The result was a masterpiece that invites and responds to human interactions, making Leonardo a pioneer of virtual reality.

—Walter Isaacson

The magic of the Mona Lisa’s smile is that it seems to react to our gaze. What is she thinking? She smiles back mysteriously. Look again. Her smile seems to flicker. We glanced away, and the enigmatic smile lingers in our minds, as it does in the collective mind of humanity. In no other painting are motion and emotion, the paired touchstones of Leonardo’s art, so intertwined

The artist Giorgio Vasari, a near contemporary, told of how Leonardo kept Lisa del Giocondo, the young wife of a Florentine silk merchant, smiling during her portrait sessions. ‘While painting her portrait, he employed people to play and sing for her, jesters to keep her merry, to put an end to the melancholy that painters often succeed in giving to their portraits.’ The result, Vasari said, was ‘a smile so pleasing that it was more divine than human,’ and he proclaimed that it was a product of superhuman skills that came directly from God.

—Walter Isaacson

The world’s most famous smile is inherently and fundamentally illusive, and therein lies Leonardo’s ultimate realization about human nature. His expertise was in depicting the outer manifestation of inner emotions, but here in the Mona Lisa he shows something more important: that we can never fully know another person’s true emotions. They always have a sfumato quality, a veil of mystery.

—Walter Isaacson

Black folk have been here 350 years, but if all the people vanished and the martians came to explore America, they wouldn’t know we had even existed. All the icons, statuary and remembrances are white.

—Ed Dwight

It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.

—Alfred Eisenstaedt

Literature, although it stands apart by reason of the great destiny and general use of its medium in the affairs of men, is yet an art like other arts. Of these we may distinguish two great classes: those arts, like sculpture, painting, acting, which are representative, or as used to be said very clumsily, imitative; and those, like architecture, music, and the dance, which are self-sufficient, and merely presentative.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

I hate flowers—I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone’s bridge in Physics.

—Walker Percy

I mean, certainly writing, painting, photography, dance, architecture, there is an aspect of almost every art form that is useful and that merges into film in some way.

—Sydney Pollack

Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good plays, good company, good conversation—what are they? They are the happiest people in the world.

–William Lyon Phelps

A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.

—Hedy Lamarr

Fine art is knowledge made visible.

—Gustave Courbet

Eddie Adam’s iconic Saigon Execution (1968) helped stop a war. This image demonstrates the power of still photography to make a single moment last forever.

—Joel Sartore

Nick Ut’s photograph of 9-year-old Phan The Kim Phúc—running, naked, and crying from napalm burns—captures war’s merciless cruelty. The 1972 image may have helped end the Vietnam conflict.

—Don Gervich

A photograph is a universe of dots. The grain, the halide, the little silver things clumped in the emulsion. Once you get inside a dot, you gain access to hidden information, you slide into the smallest event. This is what technology does. It peels back the shadows and redeems the dazed and rumbling past. It makes reality come true. 

Don DeLillo

Art is whatever you can get away with.

Marshall McLuhan

It’s so easy to lose faith and become lost in all of the politics of the world. That’s why we need the arts. To sublimate our frustration and anger into something beautiful. Freud called sublimation a virtuous defence mechanism because it is in the arts that we can find our humanity. 

Kamand Kojouri

In art, the obvious is a sin.

—Edward Dmytryk

A caricature is putting the face of a joke on the body of a truth.

—Joseph Conrad

A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.

—Grandma Moses

Hoping to stoke enthusiasm for American involvement in World War II, Roosevelt delivered an address to Congress in January 1941 that laid out the humanitarian values at stake: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. The public response? Crickets. Congress barely applauded. The next day most newspapers didn’t even mention the ‘Four Freedoms.’ Those who were talking about the phrase in and the weeks and months that followed did so to lambast its ‘hollow, empty sound’.…the Four Freedoms, in the words of one federal administrator, were a ‘flop.’Then Norman Rockwell picked up his paintbrush. Rockwell’s Four Freedoms printed in four successive issues of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943, instantly hit home. Employing the painter’s own very ordinary Vermont neighbors as subjects, the folksy illustrations packed more emotional wallop than Roosevelt’s soaring oratory two years earlier.

—Abigail Tucker

Rockwell’s paintings were idyllic. That’s his style, but it was also his time. That was the kind of image that people wanted.

—Ryan Schude

In Iowa we are surrounded by layers of complexity that have a lot to say about the nature of the American experiment, but they are not Hollywood things, not urban things, not fashionable things. They are about the basics of earth, weather, food, family relationships, neighbors, practicality. In a very direct way, American life rests upon and is shaped by agriculture, but most Americans overlook that except when from time to time, someone thrusts an art object in front of them that reminds them of that fact.

[Grant] Wood painted American Gothic in 1930, and it’s true that even though life in farm country had been difficult in the 1920s and the stock market had crashed, throwing the entire country into chaos, artists never know how chaos will play itself out or affect our own lives. Wood’s first idea, when he saw the house in Eldon, was to produce a pair of paintings, one exploring figures against the Gothic window in the little house, and the other situating a different couple in front of a Mission-style bungalow. When he sent American Gothic to a show at the Art Institute of Chicago, it was an instant and huge success, enigmatic and threatening (because of the pitchfork and the expressions on the figures’ faces) and representative of something inherently American that critics and the press had been overlooking through the fashionable 1900s, the war-dominated 1910s and the urbane Roaring Twenties. The arbiters of taste were ready to take up American Gothic and use it to put forward their own theories and feelings about what was happening after the crash, and what seemed about to happen in the world. ‘We should fear Grant Wood,’ wrote no less a critic than Gertrude Stein. ‘Every artist and every school of artists should be afraid of him, for his devastating satire.’ Wood himself never gave a definitive answer as to what he may have intended.

—Jane Smiley

American Gothic has been misinterpreted—intended to be the farmer’s daughter, she has often been mistaken for his wife. And the farmer carries the pitchfork, but the daughter’s expression seems to indicate she is in charge.

—Jane Smiley

The Russian people give a high status to the arts….In the U.K., politicians will be photographed going to a football match or possibly a film, but they wouldn’t be photographed going to an opera or a ballet or even a play. The idea of the intellectual in Britain is a strange one; it’s seen as a pejorative. ‘Too clever for your own good,’ ‘smart aleck,’ that sort of thing. I admire how in Europe and Eastern Europe, parents want children to aspire to the intelligentsia.

—Armando Iannucci

Art—even in the most unconscionable, painful, degrading present—can help us pull ourselves and our society to a higher level.

—Cory Booker

The job of art is not to store moments of experience but to explore environments that are otherwise invisible. Art is not a retrieval system of precious moments of past cultures. Art has a live, ongoing function. 

Marshall McLuhan

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.

—Jackson Pollock

Thomas Kinkade is recognized as the foremost living painter of light. His masterful use of soft edges and luminous colors give his highly detailed oil paintings a glow all their own. This extraordinary ‘Kinkade Glow’ has created an overwhelming demand for Thomas Kinkade paintings and lithographs worldwide.

Media Arts Postcard Legend

The painter constructs; the photographer discloses.

—Susan Sontag

Why were Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and Theodore Roosevelt chosen for Mount Rushmore? That was the doing of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor recruited in 1924 to create ‘a heroic sculpture’ spur South Dakota tourism. He wanted the Rushmore commission to ‘communicate the founding, expansion, preservation and unification of the United States.’ So: Washington (founding), Jefferson (expansion) and Lincoln (preservation and unification). Roosevelt…was chosen to represent the nation’s development and to carry the monument’s narrative into the 20th Century.

—Jacob Guiton

Art…it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it. 

—Flannery O’Connor

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

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The finest works of art are precious, among other reasons, because they make it possible for us to know, if only imperfectly and for a little while, what it actually feels like to think subtly and feel nobly.

—Aldous Huxley

IMAGINATION—the seed of all genius.

—Dan L. Miller

My only objective is to paint a Christ so moving that those who see him will be converted.

—Georges Rouault

To give a body and a perfect form to one’s thought, this—and only this—is to be an artist.

—Jacques-Louis David

The artist is the medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world.

—Federico Fellini

The artist is not responsible to any one. His social role is asocial…his only responsibility consists in an attitude to the work he does.

—Georg Baselitz

The world is built a canvas to our imagination.

—Henry David Thoreau

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.

—Leo Tolstoy

We are liable to miss the best of life if we do not know how to tingle, if we do not learn to hoist ourselves just a little higher than we generally are in order to sample the rarest and ripest fruit of art which human thought has to offer. 

Vladimir Nabokov

Involvement in the arts engages kids in their community, improves self-esteem, reclaims at-risk youth, and builds the creative skills that are required of a 21st century workforce.

—Gavin Newsom

The creative urge is the demon that will not accept anything second rate.

—Agnes de Mille

All art is sensual and poetry particularly so. It is directly, that is, of the senses, and since the senses do not exist without an object for their employment all art is necessarily objective. It doesn’t declaim or explain, it presents. 

—William Carlos Williams

I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough? 

—Vincent van Gogh

I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.

—Vincent Van Gogh

Dancing is like poetry written by our bodies: our outstretched arms our words of longing. 

—Lene Fogelberg

There’s no retirement for an artist; it’s your way of living so there’s no end to it. 


I feel the only thing you can do about life is to preserve it, by art if you’re an artist, by children if you’re not. 

—Philip Larkin

I do strongly feel that among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. Certain great artists can make out without it, Titian and others, but mostly you need ordeal. My idea is this: the artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business: Beethoven’s deafness, Goya’s deafness, Milton’s blindness, that kind of thing.

—John Berryman

A world without poetry and art would be too much like one without birds or flowers: bearable but a lot less enjoyable.


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

—John Updike

In common with Michelangelo and Rembrandt I am more interested in the line, its rise and fall, than in color.

—Edvard Munch

Mount Rushmore is a miracle of art. The 60-foot granite sculpture, created by human beings dangling on swings from the top of a mountain, is a statement of the power and freedom of America.

—Gary Busey

The Chauvet Cave, in the Ardèche department of Southern France, shows that more than 32,000 years ago, humans possessed the fine sensibilities needed to depict, using charcoal and ocher on cave walls, the vibrant animal life in their environment.

—Mary Lou Enlow

The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. [It’s] to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives.

—-Kelly Pollock

What is art but a way of seeing?

—Saul Bellow

When Picasso painted in Paris, was he a Spanish or a French painter? It does not matter, he was Picasso, whatever the influences surrounding him. He simply chose Paris because it was the ideal place for him to sell his creation.

—Jean-Jacques Annaud

The first (if not necessarily the prime) function of a novelist, of ANY artist, is to entertain. If the poem, painting, play or novel does not immediately engage one’s surface interest, then it has failed. Whatever else it may or may not be, art is also entertainment. Bad art fails to entertain. Good art does something in addition. 

—Brigid Brophy

Data from The College Board show that in 2015, students who took four years of arts and music classes while in high school (only 18 percent of test-takers) scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who took only one-half year or less (16 percent of test takers). Scores of 1077 vs. 985, respectively.

The best thing about Art is that the people who create it live forever. 

—Jonathan Heatt

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

—Edgar Degas

During the early 1900s, Binney & Smith—an Easton, Pennsylvania, outfit that made inks, dyes and slate pencils—was looking to diversity. Domestic crayons were terrible and the pricier versions imported from Europe didn’t put down good tones. After tinkering with pigments and petroleum-based wax, Edwin Binney developed a carbon black crayon to mark crates and barrels. In 1903, Binney & Smith rolled out its first crayons for children—in boxes of eight for a nickel. Edwin’s wife, Alice, a teacher, coined the name Crayola by fusing the French word craie for chalk with ola, form the Latin-derived oleaginous, oily. She might have changed breakfast history if she had swiped craie with gran, the Spanish word for great.

—Franz Lidz

In my work, I’ll often take a leaf from one plant, a petal from another and possibly a seed pod from a third and combine them to create a fanciful botanical hybrid.

—Johanna Basford

The first requisite for immortality is death.

—Stanislaw Lec

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a definitive picture of something. The land is a living, breathing thing and light changes its character every second of every day.

—Fay Godwin

Work at the same time on sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on an equal basis… Don’t be afraid of putting on colour… Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.

—Camille Pissarro

Art is a deliberate recreation of a new and special reality that grows from your response to life. It cannot be copied; it must be created.

—Charles F. Kettering

Life is short, the art long.


Art is the overflow of emotion into action.

—Brian Raif

Art is not a metonym for truth telling. All art is a form of a falsifying; otherwise why would anyone need art to tell us what we already know? Art makes us stand back and see what lies outside the four corners of a canvas, it makes us look inside ourselves and realize the sublime truth that previously eluded us. Art makes us realize what already lies within ourselves waiting for the resolute seeker to discover. Art frequently concentrates on the blemishes of nature. When one sees nature disfigured, it reveals both sides of the same notion

—Kilroy J. Oldster

If you’re not creating, you’re disintegrating.

—Tawny Lara

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.


The key to understanding any people is in its art: its writing, painting, sculpture. 

—Louis L’Amour

Warhol started out as a magazine illustrator; he knew how to coax an eye across a surface, how to fix it on an image. From there, he developed a non painterly style that, though he was still putting paint on canvas, withdrew the image from space and time, made it flat and deathlessly still. He then gave to his human subjects the same inhuman poise he gave to—took from?—a Coke bottle.

—Stephen Metcalf

Life is busy and hard and…there’s crushing pressure to just settle down and get a real job and khaki pants and a haircut. But don’t. Please don’t. Please keep believing that life can be better, brighter, broader because of the art that you make. Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making your art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable. 

—Shauna Niequist

There is a ruthlessness to the creative act. It often involves a betrayal of the status quo. 

—Alan Watt

Jackson Pollock…poured, splattered and lashed the canvass with strings of paint. His process was about snaring not only a vision, but the moment the vision occurred to him. The paint becomes a net cast around something too fast to be caught. The bare spaces between the net’s strands are as significant as the strands themselves because they hint at what can’t be painted, can’t be described. 

—Jocelyn Lieu

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


You’re more than what you make.

Your productivity does not determine your value.

It’s okay to do nothing sometimes.

Not everything you do has to result in a product.

Not everything you make has to be important, significant, or even good.

You can make things just for yourself.

You can keep secrets for yourself, whether it’s not posting some of your projects or not sharing your techniques.

You’re allowed to say no.

You’re allowed to rest.

—Internet Meme

Suppose I want to paint but seem to have no obvious talent. Never mind: there are artist supply shops selling paints, papers, pastel, charcoals and crayons. There are ‘How To’ books everywhere. Simple lessons in the rules of proportion and guides to composition and colourmixing can make up for my lack of natural ability and provide painless technical grounding. I am helped by grids and outlines, pantographs and tracing paper; precise instructions guide me in how to prepare a canvas, prime it with paint and wash it into an instant watercolor sky. There are instructional videos available; I can even find channels on cable and satellite television showing gentle hippies painting lakes, carving pine trees with palette knives and dotting them with impasto snow. Mahlsticks, sable, hogs-hair, turpentine and linseed. Viridian, umber, ochre and carmine. Perspective, chiaroscuro, sfumato, grisaille, tondo and morbidezza. Reserved modes and materials. The tools of the trade. A new jargon to learn. A whole initiation into technique, form and style.

—Stephen Fry

Before a child talks they sing. Before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression.

—Phylicia Rashad

Since the 1980s, arts education has declined disproportionately for certain groups. Black students, and students whose parents have less than a high school diploma, have experienced a 50% and 77% decline in school-based exposure to the arts, while white students and those with college-educated parents have experienced virtually no decrease.

This shameful discrepancy is yet another example of the educational injustice that pervades our system. All children deserve a well-rounded education that inspires and engages them and introduces them to the delights of theater, music, and visual arts. Yet too often, poor children attend schools where their educational experience is reduced to a colorless line up of low-level math and rudimentary literacy.

One reason for this is that low-income children often enter school behind in math and literacy skills. Educators want to ensure their students can catch up, and thus dedicate more time to basic math and reading skills and less time for art and field trips. It is true that students who start school behind benefit from extended, high-quality instruction in math and literacy, but the flip side of this is also true: spending less time on other subjects can actually have a damaging effect on learning.

Too few educators understand that broad and robust background knowledge—built through a rich, comprehensive curriculum that includes study of and exposure to the arts, both in and out of school—is actually vital to helping children become great readers, writers, and thinkers. Furthermore, the engagement that stems from in-school opportunities to discover and pursue co-curricular passions and talents spills over to academic classes.

—Eva Moskowitz (2019)

At the most basic level, editorial art exists to grab your attention. If the art persuades you to pause, the words get the chance to do their job. Editorial art can signal an incredible array of detail. Does the story feature a particular person, time period, or topic? Is the tone wry, somber, shocking, or uplifting?

—Katie Martin

A very serious jest—a good definition of art, of all art.

—Thomas Mann

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

—Hans Hofmann

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

—Sylvia Plath

To practice any art, not matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.

—Kurt Vonnegut

The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work. —-Emile Zola

The more the marble wastes, the more the statue grows.


Every work of art escapes the artist’s control—the more popular and complex, the greater the misunderstandings.

—George Packer

Engineers make bridges.

Artists make paintings.

Scientists make rockets.

But teachers make them all.

—Internet Meme

Creative people don’t have a mess, they have ideas lying around everywhere!

—Internet Meme

Most people are afraid to trust their imaginations and the artist is not.

—Sherwood Anderson


Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia

[When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel—1509]

I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,

hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy

(or anywhere else where the stagnant water’s poison).

My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s

pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket,

my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush,

above me all the time, dribbles paint

so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,

my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,

every gesture I make is blind and aimless.

My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s

all knotted from folding over itself.

I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.

Because I’m stuck like this, my thoughts

are crazy, perfidious tripe:

anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.

My painting is dead.

Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.

I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.


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[Take the opportunity to review and access Dan L. Miller’s Complete Works at: Dan L. Miller’s Works]


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