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Quotes by Famous Artists

Updated on January 9, 2014

What is Art?

The word art covers a multitude of media from a variety of perspectives. The word art itself is defined as: the quality, production,expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

Art can include paintings, sculptures, photography, or those drawings from your pre-schooler hanging from your kitchen refrigerator. For centuries artists have been expressing themselves in a variety of ways, yet not just by what the can draw, paint, or sculpt.

Find all the best quotes from some of the world's most reknown artists without having to sort through those that make no sense or seem like personal statements. Enjoy only the truest quotes that are sometimes great words of wisdom....


~ Everything hurts. ~

~ Nature did all things well. ~

~ Genius is eternal patience. ~

~ Faith in oneself is the best and safest course. ~

~ There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. ~

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

~ I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish. ~

~ A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it. ~

~ The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.~

~ Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. ~

~ It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges. ~

~ If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master. ~

~ The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. ~

~ The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course. ~

Pablo Picasso

~ I do not seek. I find. ~

~ Everything you can imagine is real. ~

~ Bad artists copy. Good artists steal. ~

~ We don't grow older, we grow riper. ~

~ It takes a long time to become young. ~

~ Love is the greatest refreshment in life. ~

~ Art is the elimination of the unnecessary. ~

~ One must act in painting as in life, directly. ~

~ Action is the foundational key to all success. ~

~ The hidden harmony is better than the obvious. ~

~ Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth. ~

~ Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. ~

~ It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction. ~

~ One starts to get young at sixty, and then it's too late. ~

~ When you come right down to it all you have is yourself. ~

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

~ If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes. ~

~ Work is a necessity for man. Man invented the alarm clock.~

~ There are only two types of women, goddesses and doormats. ~

~ The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? ~

~ When they tell me I'm too old to do something, I attempt it immediately.~

~ Is there anything more dangerous than sympathetic understanding? ~

~ To make oneself hated is more difficult than to make oneself loved. ~

~ The older you get the stronger the wind gets, and it's always in your face. ~

~ Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.~

~ All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~

~ I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. ~

~ I don't believe in accidents. There are only encounters in history. There are no accidents. ~

~ Every positive value has its price in negative terms... the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima. ~

~ Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun. ~

~ Anything new, anything worth doing, can't be recognized. People just don't have that much vision. ~

~ Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar. ~

~ Everyone wants to understand painting. Why is there no attempt to understand the song of the birds? ~

~ My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso. ~

Leonardo da Vinci

~ Life well spent is long. ~

~ Who sows virtue reaps honor. ~

~ Learning never exhausts the mind. ~

~ Nature never breaks her own laws. ~

~ Wisdom is the daughter of experience. ~

~ Art is never finished, only abandoned. ~

~ Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~

~ Intellectual passion drives out sensuality. ~

~ The desire to know is natural to good men. ~

~ Just as courage imperils life, fear protects it. ~

~ Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. ~

~ Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it. ~

~ He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind. ~

~ Nothing can be love or hated unless it is first known. ~

~ All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions. ~

~ He who does not punish evil commands it to be done. ~

~ He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.~

~ The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. ~

~ Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness. ~

~ As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death. ~

~ Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. ~

~ While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~

~ Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake? ~

~ I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ~

~ Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation, even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. ~

~ He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast. ~

~ The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. ~

~ It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. ~

Life Goes Faster Than You Think....

Vincent van Gogh

~ How difficult it is to be simple.~

~ Conscience is a man's compass.~

~ The way to know life is to love many things. ~

~ One must work and dare if one really wants to live. ~

~ What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? ~

~ I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. ~

~ Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. ~

~ It is a pity that, as one gradually gains experience, one loses one's youth. ~

~ I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process. ~

~ If boyhood and youth are but vanity, must it not be our ambition to become men? ~

~ Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy. ~

~ For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. ~

~ It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all to prudent. ~

~ If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~

~ Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again. ~

~ You can't be at the pole and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be color. ~

~ If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things. ~

~ The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. ~

~ Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. ~

~ One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way. ~

William Blake

~ The eye altering, alters all. ~

~ Opposition is true friendship.~

~ To generalize is to be an idiot. ~

~ Every harlot was a virgin once. ~

~ Without contraries is no progression. ~

~ Active evil is better than passive good. ~

~ The fox condemns the trap, not himself. ~

~ The weak in courage is strong in cunning. ~

~ The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. ~

~ The true method of knowledge is experiment. ~

~ What is now proved was once only imagined. ~

~ Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps. ~

~ He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence. ~

~ The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. ~

~ A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. ~

~ In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~

~ Great things are done when men and mountains meet. ~

~ No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. ~

~ The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest. ~

~ It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.~

~ He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. ~

~ Innocence dwells with wisdom, but never with ignorance ~

~ If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise. ~

~ There is no mistake so great as the mistake of not going on. ~

~ A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. ~

~ Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. ~

~ You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. ~

~ The crow wished everything was black, the owl, that every thing was white. ~

~ Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. ~

~ The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. ~

~ He who pretends to be either painter or engraver without being a master of drawing is an imposter. ~


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    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      There are so many of these quotes I liked as I read slowly through them. You really have put these all in one place for us. What a great amount of research you must have done. Voting up and awesome.

    • carter06 profile image


      6 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      These are fantastic Picasso's ' Love is the greatest refreshment in life' & Van Gogh's 'Love always brings difficulty, that is true, but the good side is it brings energy!... wherever did you get them?

      Such a great idea for a hub...up & awesome...well done


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