Monday, November 09, 2015

15 of the Best Quotes About Art

Study of a Tree Vincent van Gogh
"I am always doing what I can't do yet in order to learn how to do it." Vincent van Gogh, to Anthon Rappard, August 1885

"The things that go into making a painting—the scale of the canvas, the shape of the rectangle, the texture of the surface, the length and force of the brushstroke, the selection of colors—all those things are connected to the painter at the deepest level, the way he or she orders the world. " - Eric Fischl and Michael Stone, Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas 

"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun." - Pablo Picasso

Horse Bath Odd Nerdrum
"Light is good for the body, darkness is good for thought. Dusk is where they meet."  - Odd Nerdrum

“Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.” - Robert Henri
"What is essential in a work of art is that it should rise far above the realm of personal life and speak to the spirit and heart of the poet as man to the spirit and heart of mankind." - Carl Jung

Seashore in Moonlight Caspar David Friedrich
"The artist's feeling is his law" - Caspar David Friedrich

"The reason people are so moved by art and why artists tend to take it all so seriously is that if they are real and true they come to the painting with everything they know and feel and love, and all the things they don’t know, and some of the things they hope, and they are honest about them all and put them on the canvas. What can be more serious? What more really can be at stake except life itself, which is why maybe artists are always equating the two and driving everybody crazy by insisting that art is life. Well. Cut us some slack. It’s harder work than one might imagine, and riskier, and takes a very special and dear kind of mad person. " - Peter Heller, The Painter: A novel

Red Rust Hills Georgia O'Keeffe
"Making your unknowns know is the important thing." - Georgia O'Keeffe

Spring Andrew Wyeth
"I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious." - Andrew Wyeth

The Goldfinch Carel Fabritius
“An individual heart-shock. Your dream, Welty’s dream, Vermeer’s dream. You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum gift shop sees something else entire, and that’s not even to mention the people separated from us by time—four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we’re gone—it’ll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it’ll never strike in any deep way at all but—a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular. Yours, yours. I was painted for you." - Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch  

"Any great work of art revives and re-adapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world." - Leonard Bernstein 

Self Portrait as a Young Man Rembrandt
"Without atmosphere a painting is nothing." - Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn

"That is what perfect painting is: neither entirely dull water and stone, nor weightless representation. Not merely a wooden panel coated with cracked and abraded paint, nor entirely a madonna and child. Or as in Rembrandt, not just a slather of oil, nor simply a face. Perfect painting is imperfectly transcendent. Less interesting painters do not know what to do with the choice between substance and illusion. Poor painting does not push the equivocation as far as it can go, until the paint teeters on the edge of transcendence. An unsuccessful picture might have a passage where the paint doesn't matter at all, and the forms might just as well have been photographed instead of rendered in oil. Then in another place the paint might suddenly become obtrusive, and distract the viewer from the contemplation of some distant landscape, bringing the eye sharply back to the surface of the canvas. It may be that the human mind can only think of one aspect at a time: either a painting is what it represents, or it is a fabrication done on a flat surface. Or perhaps it is possible to think of both the surface and what seems to be behind it at once, in a "twofoldness" of attention that takes in both equally." - James Elkins, What Painting Is

"Art is a lie that tells the truth." - Pablo Picasso

These are some of my current favorites, the ones that are motivating, making me think, and look. A few of these quotes come from novels; fiction about art or that includes an art theme in the storyline. I think novels, like painting, can be "a lie that tells the truth". What would you add to this list?

1 comment:

Joey J said...

We need to stop quoting Picasso, it makes all look stupid.

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