ART QUOTES VI

quotations about art

Art quote

All art is political in the sense that it serves someone's politics.

AUGUST WILSON, The Paris Review, Winter 1999

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Art cannot be subordinate to its subject, otherwise it is not art but biography.

TOM STOPPARD, The Invention of Love

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It's not a bad thing for a man to have to live his life--and we nearly all manage to dodge it. Our first round with the Sphinx may strike something out of us--a book or a picture or a symphony; and we're amazed at our feat, and go on letting that first work breed others, as some animal forms reproduce each other without renewed fertilization. So there we are, committed to our first guess at the riddle; and our works look as like as successive impressions of the same plate, each with the lines a little fainter; whereas they ought to be--if we touch earth between times--as different from each other as those other creatures--jellyfish, aren't they, of a kind?--where successive generations produce new forms, and it takes a zoologist to see the hidden likeness.

EDITH WHARTON, "The Legend", Tales of Men and Ghosts

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Art is a jealous mistress.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Conduct of Life

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It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.

ANAIS NIN, attributed, The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations

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Art at its greatest is fantastically deceitful and complex.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV, Strong Opinions

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True art, like nature, ever bears
Suggestions of some higher thing;
As more than form or tint of bird
We prize the song he stops to sing.

EDITH WILLIS LINN FORBES, "A Landscape in Oils"

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There is no surer way of evading the world than by Art; and no surer way of uniting with it than by Art.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

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The artist has some internal experience that produces a poem, a painting, a piece of music. Spectators submit themselves to the work, which generates an inner experience for them. But historically it's a very new, not to mention vulgar, idea that the spectator's experience should be identical to, or even have anything to do with, the artist's. That idea comes from an over-industrialized society which has learned to distrust magic.

SAMUEL R. DELANY, Dhalgren

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Art is the Mirror of our betrayed ideals.

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

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Art is the one form of human energy in the whole world, which really works for union, and destroys the barriers between man and man. It is the continual, unconscious replacement, however fleeting, of oneself by another; the real cement of human life; the everlasting refreshment and renewal. For, what is grievous, dompting, grim, about our lives is that we are shut up within ourselves, with an itch to get outside ourselves. And to be stolen away from ourselves by Art is a momentary relaxation from that itching, a minute's profound, and as it were secret, enfranchisement.

JOHN GALSWORTHY, Vague Thoughts on Art

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That art is best which suggests most.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

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For the enjoyment of the artist the mask must be to some extent moulded on the face. What he makes outside him must correspond to something inside him; he can only make his effects out of some of the materials of his soul.

G. K. CHESTERTON, The Dagger with Wings

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If the world were clear, art would not exist.

ALBERT CAMUS, The Myth of Sisyphus

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Art lifts man from his personal life into the universal life.

LEO TOLSTOY, What Is Art?

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The way to art was not to think too clearly, not to plan things out, but to follow where your heart and emotions led.

PAUL PARK, A Princess of Roumania

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Doing a life study while drunk and in the process of being seduced is never a formula for quality art.

DAN SIMMONS, The Fall of Hyperion

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Destroy the thing, do it over several times. In each destroying of a beautiful discovery, the artist does not really suppress it, but rather transforms it, condenses it, makes it more substantial. What comes out in the end is the result of discarded finds.

PETER ABRAHAMS, End of Story

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You're an artist ... that means you see the world in ways that other people don't. It's your gift, to see the beauty and the horror in ordinary things. It doesn't make you crazy--just different. There's nothing wrong with being different.

CASSANDRA CLARE, City of Bones

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Real art, like the wife of an affectionate husband, needs no ornaments. But counterfeit art, like a prostitute, must always be decked out. The cause of production of real art is the artist's inner need to express a feeling that has accumulated, just as for a mother the cause of sexual conception is love. The cause of counterfeit art, as of prostitution, is gain. The consequence of true art is the introduction of a new feeling into the intercourse of life, as the consequence of a wife's love is the birth of a new man into life. The consequences of counterfeit art are the perversion of man, pleasure which never satisfies, and the weakening of man's spiritual strength.

LEO TOLSTOY, What Is Art?

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