An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Art is either plagiarism or revolution.


Paul Gauguin (1848-1903, French artist)


The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art's audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.


Henry Geldzahler (1935-, Belgium-born American curator, art critic)


The sole art that suits me is that which, rising from unrest, tends toward serenity.


Andre Gide (1869-1951, French author)


Art is skill, that is the first meaning of the word.


Eric Gill (1882-1940, British sculptor, engraver, writer, typographer)


Fortunately art is a community effort -- a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh.


Allen Ginsberg (1926-, American poet)


Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.


Jean-Luc Godard (1930-, French filmmaker, author)


Art is long, life short, judgment difficult, opportunity transient.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


One of the most striking signs of the decay of art is when we see its separate forms jumbled together.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


Personality is everything in art and poetry.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The artist who is not also a craftsman is no good; but, alas, most of our artists are nothing else.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


The biggest problem with every art is the use of appearance to create a loftier reality.


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


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


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, dramatist, novelist)


Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?


Nadine Gordimer (1923-, South African author)


Keep to yourself the final touches of your art.


Baltasar Gracian (1601-1658, Spanish philosopher, writer)


Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. Pointless and yet necessary, that's hard for a puritan to understand.


Gunther Grass (1927-, German author)


If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people; he's really needed.


David Hockney (1937-, British artist)


I'm the artist formally known as Beck. I have a genius wig. When I put that wig on, then the true genius emerges. I don't have enough hair to be a genius. I think you have to have hair going everywhere.


Beck Hansen (1959-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


There is only one art, whose sole criterion is the power, the authenticity, the revelatory insight, the courage and suggestiveness with which it seeks its truth. Thus, from the standpoint of the work and its worth, it is irrelevant to which political ideas the artist as a citizen claims allegiance, which ideas he would like to serve with his work or whether he holds any such ideas at all.


Vaclav Havel (1936-, Czech playwright, president)


Art is a reality, not a definition; inasmuch as it approaches a reality, it approaches perfection, and inasmuch as it approaches a mere definition, it is imperfect and untrue.


Benjamin Haydon (1786-1846, British artist)


A picture is a poem without words.


Horace (BC 65-8, Italian poet)


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 (1894-1963, British author)


A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.


Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994, Romanian-born French playwright)


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


Max Jacob


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


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


Art has an enemy called ignorance.


Ben Johnson (1572-1637, British clergyman, poet, painter)


No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


I'm still an artist. I'm never gonna do a shit movie, because I've got my modeling to support me.


Milla Jovovich (1975-, Soviet-born actress, model, singer)


Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.


James Joyce (1882-1941, Irish author)


Irresponsibility is part of the pleasure of all art; it is the part the schools cannot recognize.


Pauline Kael (1919-, American film critic)


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 F. Kennedy (1917-1963, American President (35th))


In free society art is not a weapon. Artists are not engineers of the soul.


John F. Kennedy (1917-1963, American President (35th))


Art, that great undogmatized church.


Ellen Key (1849-1926, Swedish author, feminist)


And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart, till the Devil whispered behind the leaves "It's pretty, but is it Art?"


Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936, British author of Prose, Verse)


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


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


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


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


An artist is forced by others to paint out of his own free will.


Willem De Kooning (1904-,1997, Dutch-born American artist)


In art, one idea is as good as another. If one takes the idea of trembling, for instance, all of a sudden most art starts to tremble. Michelangelo starts to tremble. El Greco starts to tremble. All the Impressionists start to tremble.


Willem De Kooning (1904-,1997, Dutch-born American artist)


Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.


Willem De Kooning (1904-,1997, Dutch-born American artist)


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


Hilton Kramer


In art there are tears that lie too deep for thought.


Louis Kronenberger


Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Art raises its head where creeds relax.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Art is the objectification of feeling.


Suzanne K. Langer (1895-1985, American philosopher)


A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants.


Lao-Tzu (BC 600-?, Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism)


In other countries, art and literature are left to a lot of shabby bums living in attics and feeding on booze and spaghetti, but in America the successful writer or picture-painter is indistinguishable from any other decent businessman.


Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951, American novelist, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature)


Making social comment is an artificial place for an artist to start from. If an artist is touched by some social condition, what the artist creates will reflect that, but you can't force it.


Bella Lewitzky (1916-, American dancer)


Art is the child of Nature; yes, her darling child, in whom we trace the features of the mother's face, her aspect and her attitude.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


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


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


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


Norman Mailer (1923-, American author)


There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause.


Zedong Mao (1893-1976, Founder of the People's Republic of China)


We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizons; deep-cheated locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.


Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944, Italian playwright, founder of Futurism)


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 (1869-1954, French artist)


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.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes.


Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980, Canadian communications theorist)


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


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Experiment is necessary in establishing an academy, but certain principles must apply to this business of art as to any other business which affects the artistic sense of the community. Great art speaks a language which every intelligent person can understand. The people who call themselves modernists today speak a different language.


Robert Menzies (1894-1978, Australian liberal politician, Prime Minister)


Caricature is rough truth.


George Meredith (1828-1909, British author)


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


Michelangelo (1474-1564, Italian renaissance painter, sculptor)


Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


The artist is the opposite of the politically minded individual, the opposite of the reformer, the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe; he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Art is man's expression of his joy in labor.


William Morris (1834-1896, British artist, writer, printer)


If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens.


Grandma Moses (1860-1961, American artist)


The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with.


Robert Motherwell (1915-1991, American artist)


Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.


Iris Murdoch (1919-, British novelist, philosopher)


To speak of morals in art is to speak of legislature in sex. Art is the sex of the imagination.


George Jean Nathan (1882-1958, American critic)


We have art in order not to die of the truth.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


There is no true expertise in the humanities without knowing all of the humanities. Art is a vast, ancient interconnected web-work, a fabricated tradition. Over-concentration on any one point is a distortion.


Camille Paglia (1947-, American author, critic, educator)


But the one thing you should. not do is to suppose that when something is wrong with the arts, it is wrong with the arts ONLY.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


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 (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


Humanity is the rich effluvium, it is the waste and the manure and the soil, and from it grows the tree of the arts.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


The perfection of art is to conceal art.


Edgar Quinet (1803-1875, French poet, historian, politician)


I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need. [When asked how he managed to make his remarkable statues.]


Auguste Rodin (1840-1917, French sculptor)


Only an artist can interpret the meaning of life.


Novalis (1772-1801, German poet, novelist)


The artist belongs to their work, not the work to the artist.


Novalis (1772-1801, German poet, novelist)


All the arts and sciences have their roots in the struggle against death.


Saint Gregory of Nyssa


Art is a form of catharsis.


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967, American humorous writer)


Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers. What we call art is a game.


Octavio Paz (1914-1998, Mexican poet, essayist)


What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.


Octavio Paz (1914-1998, Mexican poet, essayist)


Wherever art appears, life disappears.


Francis Picabia (1878-1953, French painter, poet)


Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


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


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


If I spit, they will take my spit and frame it as great art.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


Often while reading a book one feels that the author would have preferred to paint rather than write; one can sense the pleasure he derives from describing a landscape or a person, as if he were painting what he is saying, because deep in his heart he would have preferred to use brushes and colors.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


The people who make art their business are mostly impostors.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


Through art we express our conception of what nature is not.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it "the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul." The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of "Artist."


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845, American poet, critic, short-story writer)


The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


It ought to be illegal for an artist to marry. If the artist must marry let him find someone more interested in art, or his art, or the artist part of him, than in him. After which let them take tea together three times a week.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.


Marcel Proust (1871-1922, French novelist)


An artist lives everywhere.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


Painted flowers have no scent.


German Proverb (Sayings of German origin)


Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. An artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man's nature.


Ayn Rand (1905-1982, Russian philosopher, author, "Atlas Shrugged")


Artistic genius is an expansion of monkey imitativeness.


Winwood W. Reade (1838-1875, American writer)


Art is too serious to be taken seriously.


Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967, American artist)


He bores me. He ought to have stuck to his flying machine. [On Leonardo Da Vinci]


Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919, French impressionist artist)


There is the falsely mystical view of art that assumes a kind of supernatural inspiration, a possession by universal forces unrelated to questions of power and privilege or the artist's relation to bread and blood. In this view, the channel of art can only become clogged and misdirected by the artist's concern with merely temporary and local disturbances. The song is higher than the struggle.


Adrienne Rich (1929-, American poet)


Art, whose honesty must work through artifice, cannot avoid cheating truth.


Laura Riding (1901-1991, American poet)


Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.


Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926, German poet)


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page

In spite of his practical ability, some of his experience had petrified into maxims and quotations.
George Eliot

Life itself is a quotation.
Jorge Luis Borges

I pick my favorite quotation and store them in my mind as ready armor, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence.
Robert Burns

An aphorism is a mental exercise, psychical, logical, linguistic, spiritual, ritual, emotional and rational, it is a major conceptual and literary activity, a mixture of prose and poetry that conveys, in addition to ideology, sympathy or antipathy.
Carl William Brown

An aphorism is a synthesis of poetry and prose, it is a narrative precipitate, a didactic parable, an ideological concept, in practice it ‘s compressed and zipped philosophy . It is literature that adapts itself to the digital age.
Carl William Brown

An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication.
Carl William Brown


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