151 Art Quotes

151 Art Quotes ~ Picasso, Dalí, Monet, O'Keefe, Van Gogh, da Vinci

151 Art Quotes

We've complied a list of art quotes from some of the most notable artists in history including Dalí, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, da Vinci, and O'Keeffe, to name a few.

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?" —Vincent Van Gogh

“A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not." —Leonardo da Vinci

“A picture is a poem without words” —Horace

“A sculpture is just a drawing you fall over in the dark." —Al Hirschfield

“A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others." —Salvador Dalí

“A true masterpiece does not tell everything." —Albert Camus

“A work is finished when an artist realizes his intentions." —Rembrandt

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." —Paul Cézanne

“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

“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

“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one." —Charles Cooley

“An artist discovers his genius the day he dares not to please." —Andre Malraux

“An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.“ —George Santayana

“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision." —James McNeill Whistler

“An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he—for some reason—thinks it would be a good idea to give them.“ —Andy Warhol

“An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success." —Henri Matisse

“An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.“ —J.D. Salinger

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." —Charles Bukowski

“Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it." —Samuel Butler

“Art deteriorates when it is done for the audience." —James Pierce

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." —Thomas Merton

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does, the better.“ —André Gide

“Art is a line around your thoughts.” —Gustav Klimt

“Art is a way of recognizing oneself.” —Louise Bourgeois

“Art is art, isn’t it? And water is water and east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like apple-sauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.“ —Groucho Marx

“Art is coming face to face with yourself.“ —Jackson Pollock

“Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.“ —Georges Braque

“Art is my life and my life is art.“ —Yoko Ono

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.“ —Leonardo da Vinci

“Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it.“ —Leon Trotsky

“Art is not a thing, it is a way.“ —Elbert Hubbard

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.“ —Edgar Degas

“Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.“ —Albert Einstein

“Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.“ —Agnes Martin

“Art is the expression of the profoundest thoughts in the simplest way.“ —Albert Einstein

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.“ —Pablo Picasso

“Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.“ —Oscar Wilde

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.“ —Vincent Van Gogh

“Art is what you can get away with.“ —Andy Warhol

“Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.“ —Leonardo da Vinci

“Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.“ —Marc Chagall

“Art must destroy violence, only it can do it.“ —Leo Tolstoy

“Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” —Keith Haring

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.“ —Banksy

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.“ —Pablo Picasso

“Art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.“ —Rainbow Rowell

“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

“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.“ —Al Hirschfield

“Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.“ —Pablo Picasso

“Before I start carving the idea must be almost complete. I say ‘almost' because the really important thing seems to be the sculptor's ability to let his intuition guide him over the gap between conception and realization without compromising the integrity of the original idea.” —Barbara Hepworth

“Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.“ —Claude Monet

“Contrary to general belief, an artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.“ —Edgard Varese

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.“ —Scott Adams

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on” —Albert Einstein

“Creativity takes courage.“ —Henri Matisse

“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.“ —Andy Warhol

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.”  —Andy Warhol

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.“ —Henry Ward Beecher

“Every artist was first an amateur.“ —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every canvas is a journey all its own.” —Helen Frankenthaler

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” —Pablo Picasso

“Every good painter paints what he is.“ —Jackson Pollock

“Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy —the joy of being Salvador Dalí— and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?“ —Salvador Dalí

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.“ —Oscar Wilde

“Every time I paint a portrait, I lose a friend.” —John Singer Sargent

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

“Great art picks up where nature ends.” —Marc Chagall

“Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.” —Salvador Dali

“He was our greatest living painter, until he died.” —Mark Twain

“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. Francis of Assisi

“I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work.” —Mary Cassatt

“I couldn’t give you something mediocre even if that’s all you asked for.“ —Michelangelo

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.“ —Georgia O’Keeffe

“I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals. That’s okay though; I have more fun than most people.“ —Bob Ross

“I hate flowers. I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move.“ —Georgia O’Keeffe

“I have a flood of ideas in my mind. I just follow my vision.” —Yayoi Kusama

“I must have flowers, always, and always.“ —Claude Monet

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” —Frida Kahlo

“I paint flowers so they will not die.“ —Frida Kahlo

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.“ —Michelangelo

“I shut my eyes in order to see.“ —Paul Gauguin

“I want to make paintings that look as if they were made by a child.” —Jean-Michel Basquiat

“I would never have taken up painting if women did not have breasts.“ —Pierre Auguste Renoir

“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

“If I close my eyes, I see things better than with my eyes open.“ —Henri Matisse

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” —Edward Hopper

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

“If the artist has outer and inner eyes for nature, nature rewards him by giving him inspiration.” —Wassily Kandinsky

“If the old masters had labelled their fruit, one wouldn’t be so likely to mistake pears for turnips.“ —Mark Twain

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

“If you have a burning restless urge to paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.“ —Fran Lebowitz

“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

“In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better.“ —Ernest Hemingway

“In the mind of every artist there is a masterpiece.“ —Kai Green

“It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive.” —Louise Bourgeois

“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.“ —Paul Cézanne

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I accomplish.“ —Michelangelo

“Man needs music, literature, and painting – all those oases of perfection that make up art – to compensate for the rudeness and materialism of life.“ —Fernando Botero

“Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.“ —Banksy

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

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” —Oscar Wilde

“No great work of art is ever finished.“ —Michelangelo

“Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.“ —Peter O’Toole

“Obsessive people make great art.” —Susan Sontag

“One eye sees, the other feels.“ —Paul Klee

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do” —Edgar Degas

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.“ —Pablo Picasso

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.“ —Leonardo da Vinci

“Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.“ —Rembrandt van Rijn

“Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know.“ Rembrandt
“Rembrandt painted 700 pictures. Of these 3,000 are in existence.“ —Wilhelm Bode

“The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.“ —Eric Gill

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.“ —Emile Zola

“The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.“ —Wassily Kandinsky

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.” —Leonardo da Vinci

“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

“The beautiful, which is perhaps inseparable from art, is not after all tied to the subject, but to the pictorial representation. In this way and in no other does art overcome the ugly without avoiding it.” —Paul Klee

“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will spark off a revolution.“ —Paul Cézanne

“The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.” —Vincent van Gogh

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.“ —Friedrich Nietzsche

“The great artist is the simplifier.“ —Vincent van Gogh

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.“ —Robert Hughes

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.“ —Sir Francis Bacon

“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” —Auguste Rodin

“The modern artist is working and expressing an inner world – in other words – expressing the energy, the motion, and other inner forces.“ —Jackson Pollock

“The more we can get in tune with the harmony of the planet, the more our art can benefit from that relationship.“ —Rick Rubin

“The more you look at modern art exhibits, the more everything begins to look like an exhibit, including the attendant’s chair and the fire extinguisher.“ —Brian Sewell

“The most seductive thing about art is the personality of the artist himself.“ —Paul Cézanne

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.“ —Robert Henri

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.“ —Alberto Giacometti

“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.“ —Piet Mondrian

“The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.“ —Jerzy Kosiński

“The public wants to understand and learn in a single day, a single minute, what the artist has spent years learning.“ —Paul Gauguin

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.“ —Pablo Picasso

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.” —Claude Monet

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.“ —Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

“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

“The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.” —George Inness

“The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.” —Joan Mirу

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

“The world is only as free as it allows its artists to be.“ —Rick Rubin

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” —Helen Frankenthaler

“There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.“ —Charles Dickens

“There are three kinds of people in the world: those who can’t stand Picasso, those who can’t stand Raphael, and those who have never heard of either.“ —John White

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” —Henry Moore

“To draw you must close your eyes and sing.“ —Pablo Picasso

“To my mind one does not put oneself in place of the past, one only adds a new link.” —Paul Cézanne

“Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first.“ —Arthur Schopenhauer

“Van Gogh would have sold more than one painting if he’d put tigers in them.“ —Tom Hobbes

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” —Bob Ross

“We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.“ —John F. Kennedy
“What art is, in reality, is this missing link, not the links which exist. It’s not what you see that is art; art is the gap.“ —Marcel Duchamp

“What is an artist? For every thousand people there’s nine hundred doing the work, ninety doing well, nine doing good, and one lucky bastard who’s the artist.“ —Tom Stoppard

“What keeps my heart awake is colourful silence.“ —Claude Monet

“When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.“ —Pablo Picasso

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.“ —Leonardo da Vinci

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.” —Georgia O’Keeffe

“Whoever wants to know something about me, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognise what I am and what I want.“ —Gustav Klimt

“Without tradition art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation it is a corpse.“ —Winston Churchill

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” —Ansel Adams

“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.” —Rick Riordan

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