Quotes about painting

A collection of quotes on the topic of painting.

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti photo
Leonardo Da Vinci photo

„Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen.“

—  Leonardo Da Vinci Italian Renaissance polymath 1452 - 1519

A Treatise on Painting (1651); "The Paragone"; compiled by Francesco Melzi prior to 1542, first published as Trattato della pittura by Raffaelo du Fresne (1651)
Context: Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen. These two arts, you may call them both either poetry or painting, have here interchanged the senses by which they penetrate to the intellect.

Jim Davis photo
Claude Monet photo

„I want to paint the way a bird sings.“

—  Claude Monet French impressionist painter 1840 - 1926

Variant: I would like to paint the way a bird sings.
Source: Monet By Himself

Claude Monet photo
Etty Hillesum photo
Henry Miller photo
Vincent Van Gogh photo
Ravi Zacharias photo
Mark Rothko photo

„A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience.“

—  Mark Rothko American painter 1903 - 1970

As quoted in 'Mark Rothko', Dorothy Seiberling in LIFE magazine (16 November 1959), p. 82
1950's

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Francisco De Goya photo

„[T]here are no rules in painting and.... the oppression, or servile obligation, of making all study or follow the same path is a great impediment for the Young who profess this very difficult art that approaches the divine more than any other.“

—  Francisco De Goya Spanish painter and printmaker (1746–1828) 1746 - 1828

In a report, 1792 which Goya was invited to write to the Academy of San Fernando on the subject of teaching art; as cited by Robert Hughes, in: Goya. Borzoi Book - Alfred Knopf, New York, 2003, p. 126
at the end of 1792 Goya abruptly broke off work on his tapestry designs and left Madrid for the South. In Jan. 1793 he wrote a note: 'had been ill for two months and asked permission to stop designing and go to Sevilla to recuperate'. There are no more letters written by Goya then; no one can say more about this crisis / illness, according to Robert Hughes
1790s

„We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents. And that's when you really experience the joy of painting.“

—  Bob Ross American painter, art instructor, and television host 1942 - 1995

Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere. Collection 1: Ep. 8 "Wintertime Blues"; The Joy of Painting Season 20: Episode 3 Bob Ross: Winter in Pastel.

Caspar David Friedrich photo
Caspar David Friedrich photo

„If a painting has a soulful effect on the viewer, if it puts his mind into a soulful mood, then it has fulfilled the first requirement of a work of art. However bad it might be in drawing, color, handling, etc.“

—  Caspar David Friedrich Swedish painter 1774 - 1840

Quote of Friedrich's letter 8 Feb. 1809, to 'Akademiedirektor Schulz'; as cited by Helmut Bôrsch-Supan and Karl Wilhelm Jàhnig in Caspar David Friedrich: Gemâlde, Druckgraphik und bildmassige Zeichnungen (Munich: Prestel, 1973), 182-83, esp. 183; translation, David Britt - note 117 http://d2aohiyo3d3idm.cloudfront.net/publications/virtuallibrary/0892366745.pdf
1794 - 1840

Caspar David Friedrich photo
Caspar David Friedrich photo

„The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees in himself. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him.“

—  Caspar David Friedrich Swedish painter 1774 - 1840

Quote from "The Awe-Struck Witness" in TIME magazine (28 October 1974) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,908926-1,00.html and in "On the Brink: The Artist and the Seas" by Eldon N. Van Liere in Poetics of the Elements in the Human Condition: The Sea (1985) ed. Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
Variant translations:
The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also omit to paint that which he sees before him.
As quoted in German Romantic Painting (1994) by William Vaughan, p. 68
undated
Context: The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees in himself. If, however, he sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him. Otherwise his pictures will be like those folding screens behind which one expects to find only the sick or the dead.

Amedeo Modigliani photo

„When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes“

—  Amedeo Modigliani Italian painter and sculptor 1884 - 1920

Vincent Van Gogh photo

„I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh Dutch post-Impressionist painter (1853-1890) 1853 - 1890

As quoted in Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity (1997) by Jan Phillips, p. 176
Undated

Frank Stella photo
William Shakespeare photo

„Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.“

—  William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Helena, Act I, scene i.
Variant: Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind".
Source: A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“