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





Only conservatives believe that subversion is still being carried on in the arts and that society is being shaken by it. Advanced art today is no longer a cause -- it contains no moral imperative. There is no virtue in clinging to principles and standards, no vice in selling or in selling out.


Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978, American art critic, author)


What better way to prove that you understand a subject than to make money out of it?


Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978, American art critic, author)


Inside you there's an artist you don't know about. He's not interested in how things look different in moonlight.


Jalal-Uddin Rumi (1207-1273, Persian sufi, mystic poet)


Not even the visionary or mystical experience ever lasts very long. It is for art to capture that experience, to offer it to, in the case of literature, its readers; to be, for a secular, materialist culture, some sort of replacement for what the love of god offers in the world of faith.


Salman Rushdie (1948-, Indian-born British author)


I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


No art can be noble which is incapable of expressing thought, and no art is capable of expressing thought which does not change.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


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


George Sand (1804-1876, French novelist)


The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence, to recreate it in the eternal.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


As noble art has survived noble nature, so too she marches ahead of it, fashioning and awakening by her inspiration. Before Truth sends her triumphant light into the depths of the heart, imagination catches its rays, and the peaks of humanity will be glowing when humid night still lingers in the valleys.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


Nothing right can be accomplished in art without enthusiasm.


Robert Schumann (1810-1856, German composer)


The artist's vocation is to send light into the human heart.


Robert Schumann (1810-1856, German composer)


All art is an imitation of nature.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


O, had I but followed the arts!


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


The object of art is to give life a shape.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)

Source: Midsummer Nights Dream


Great art is never produced for its own sake. It is too difficult to be worth the effort.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Art is the signature of civilizations.


Beverly Sills (1929-, American opera singer)


The vitality of a new movement in Art must be gauged by the fury it arouses.


Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946, Anglo-American essayist, aphorist)


Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.


Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-, Russian novelist)


Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. 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 (1933-, American essayist)


The contemporary thing in art and literature is the thing which doesn't make enough difference to the people of that generation so that they can accept it or reject it.


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946, American author)


What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real.


Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941, Indian poet, philosopher)


The Artist is he who detects and applies the law from observation of the works of Genius, whether of man or Nature. The Artisan is he who merely applies the rules which others have detected.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised.


James Thurber (1894-1961, American humorist, illustrator)


To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but that most people can't eat it.


Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910, Russian novelist, philosopher)


A primary function of art and thought is to liberate the individual from the tyranny of his culture in the environmental sense and to permit him to stand beyond it in an autonomy of perception and judgment.


Lionel Trilling (1905-1975, American critic)


All great art, and today all great artlessness, must appear extreme to the mass of men, as we know them today. It springs from the anguish of great souls. From the souls of men not formed, but deformed in factories whose inspiration is pelf.


Alexander Trocchi (1925-1983, Italian-Scottish novelist, poet, translator)


If the Revolution has the right to destroy bridges and art monuments whenever necessary, it will stop still less from laying its hand on any tendency in art which, no matter how great its achievement in form, threatens to disintegrate the revolutionary environment or to arouse the internal forces of the Revolution, that is, the proletariat, the peasantry and the intelligentsia, to a hostile opposition to one another. Our standard is, clearly, political, imperative and intolerant.


Leon Trotsky (1879-1940, Russian revolutionary)


If that's art, I'm a Hottentot!


Harry S. Truman (1884-1972, American President (33rd))


Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art.


Kenneth Tynan (1927-1980, British critic)


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.


Tristan Tzara (1896-1963, Rumanian-born French Dadaist)


Art… the end result of perception, wisdom, intelligence, discipline, hard work, passion, luck, accident, and coincidence.


Author Unknown


It is not hard to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall it's a painting, and if you can walk around it it's a sculpture.


Author Unknown


Labor is the beginning, the middle, and the end of art.


Author Unknown


Many bad artists will tell you that art is life. There's a subtle difference however. You can turn your back on art


Author Unknown


The artist must conceive with warmth yet execute with coolness.


Author Unknown


Art imitates Nature in this; not to dare is to dwindle.


John Updike (1932-, American novelist, critic)


I can't work without a model. I won't say I turn my back on nature ruthlessly in order to turn a study into a picture, arranging the colors, enlarging and simplifying; but in the matter of form I am too afraid of departing from the possible and the true.


Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890, Dutch-born French painter)


It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to: the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.


Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890, Dutch-born French painter)


Contrary to popular belief, an artist is never ahead of his time, but most people are far behind theirs.


Edward Varese


The art of creation is older than the art of killing.


Andrei Voznesensky


In a very ugly and sensible age, the arts borrow, not from life, but from each other.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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


Andy Warhol (1930-, American artist, filmmaker)


An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along.


Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966, British novelist)


Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


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


Rebecca West (1892-1983, British author)


Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.


Rebecca West (1892-1983, British author)


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


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


All art is quite useless.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Art, like Nature, has her monsters, things of bestial shape and with hideous voices.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Bad art is a great deal worse than no art at all.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Bad artists always admire each other's work.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Modern pictures are, no doubt, delightful to look at. At least, some of them are. But they are quite impossible to live with; they are too clever, too assertive, too intellectual. Their meaning is too obvious, and their method too clearly defined.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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


Robert Wilson (1941-, American theater director, designer)


The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in modern art is merely romantic fiction. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened.


Thomas Wolfe (1931-, American author, journalist)


This is the artist, then, life's hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty's miser, glory's slave.


Thomas Wolfe (1931-, American author, journalist)


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


George E. Woodberry (1855-1930, American literary critic)


Is there not an art, a music, and a stream of words that shalt be life, the acknowledged voice of life?


William Wordsworth (1770-1850, British poet)


Pictures deface walls more often than they decorate them.


Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959, American architect)


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


Yu Cao (1910-1996, Chinese dramatist)


I am an artist… I am here to live out loud.


Emile Zola (1840-1902, French novelist)


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking