Art Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old art quotes, art sayings, and art proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.     

Jean-Luc Godard

Art begins with resistance, at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor.     

Andre Gide

Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.     

G. K. Chesterton

Art does not imitate, but interpret.     

Giuseppe Mazzini

Art doesn't have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.     

Duane Hanson

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.     

Thomas Merton

Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.     

Sydney Gurewitz Clemens

Art inspires, produces an unwillingness to settle for what we have and a desire for something better. It is the product and producer of creative activity, change; it is essential for continuous development.     

Russell L. Ackoff

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.     

Andre Gide

Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant or a child in its mother's womb.     

Jean Arp

Art is an intersection of many human needs.     

Carl Andre

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.     


Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.     

L. Nevelson

Art is literacy of the heart.     

Elliot Eisner

Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.     

Theodor W. Adorno

Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.     

Chinua Achebe

Art is not a thing, it is a way.     

Elbert Hubbard

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.     

Pablo Picasso

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.     

Edgar Degas

Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?     

Edith Wharton

Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.     

Agnes Martin

Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.     

Amy Lowell

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.     

Alfred North Whitehead

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.      

Oscar Wilde

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.     

Twyla Tharp

Art is the reason I get up in the morning, but the definition ends there. It doesn't seem fair that I'm living for something I can't even define.     

Ani DiFranco

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.     

Theodore Dreiser

Art is not the possession of the few who are recognized writers, painters, musicians; it is the authentic expression of any and all individuality.     

John Dewey

Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.     

Bruce Lee

Art remains the one way possible of speaking truth.     

Robert Browning

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.     


Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it.     

Hugh MacLeod

Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.     

G. K. Chesterton

Art's whatever you choose to frame.     

Fleur Adcock

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

In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet.     

Kojiro Tomita

It is no wonder if Art frequently prefers Illusion to Truth: for Illusion is her servant, but Truth her mistress.     

Richard Garnett

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.     

Oscar Wilde

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.     


The arts do live continuously, and they live literally by faith; their names and their shapes and their uses and their basic meanings survive unchanged in all that matters through times of interruption, diminishment, neglect; they outlive governments and creeds and the societies, even the very civilization that produced them. They cannot be destroyed altogether because they represent the substance of faith and the only reality. They are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away.     

Katherine Anne Porter

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.     

Pablo Picasso

There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.     

Isaac D'Israeli

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.     

Pablo Picasso

Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.     

Winston Churchill

Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don't believe that only art matters, I do believe in art for art's sake.     

E. M. Forster

Great art picks up where nature ends.     

Marc Chagall

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.     

Walt Whitman

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

Alberto Giacometti

If art reflects life, it does so with special mirrors.     

Bertolt Brecht

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

Pablo Picasso

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.     

Edgar Degas

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.     

Scott Adams

We have art in order not to die of the truth.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

Perfection in art, as often in life, is better captured by eraser than pencil.     

Robert Brault

The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.     

Jerzy Kosinski

Art is anything you can get away with.     

Marshall McLuhan

There is no must in art because art is free.     

Wassily Kandinsky

Art is never finished, only abandoned.     

Leonardo da Vinci

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.     

Marc Chagall

Art is man's challenge to time, his rebuke to chaos; the protest will survive neither the triumph of fire, nor the finality of ice — but it is better than the silence of consent.     

Dr. Idel Dreimer

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.     

Pablo Picasso

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.     

Stella Adler

Art is basically made by dissatisfied people who are willing to find some means to relieve the dissatisfaction.     

John Chamberlain

Art is the proper task of life.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

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

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

Pablo Picasso

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.     

Leonardo da Vinci

Art lies by its own artifice.     


Art is pattern informed by sensibility.     

Herbert Read

If art, all art, is concerned with truth, then a society in denial will not find much use for it.     

Jeanette Winterson

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.     

John Ruskin

Art is a little subversive, very subversive; it gets underneath the surface and reveals what is there; it is a Geiger counter for truth.     

Pat Allen

Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.     

Mary Schmich

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.     

Jean Cocteau

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

Art without emotion its like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag.     

Laurie Halse Anderson

In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.     

Oscar Wilde

Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the secrets of his soul, and shows to people these secrets which are common to all.     

Leo Tolstoy

Most art is fragile and some should be placed and never moved away.     

Donald Judd

The difference between Art and Life is that Art is more bearable.     

Charles Bukowski

A picture is a poem without words.     


You don't take a photograph, you make it.     

Ansel Adams

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

Art is the signature of civilizations.     

Beverly Sills

Art is skill; that is the first meaning of the word.     

Eric Gill

What art offers is space—a certain breathing room for the spirit.     

John Updike

There is no surer method of evading the world than by following Art and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by Art.     

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Art is the triumph over chaos.     

John Cheever

Art is indeed not the bread but the wine of life.     

Jean Paul

Art is like a border of flowers along the course of civilization.     

Lincoln Steffens

I think of Art as a glue, a cultural and social glue. It's one of the means that has served to show us the things we believe in and the things we celebrate; it has served to reinforce our relationship to each other.     

Eric Fischl

Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature's unrealized ends.     


Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.     

W.H. Auden

Art is an end in itself; its values are intrinsic.     

Daniel Bell

Art is who we are. It facilitates self-realization in everyone.     

Philippe Benichou

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.     

Bertolt Brecht

I once had the nerve to ask Picasso the question, 'What is art?' He answered, 'Art is a lie which makes us see the truth.'     

James Dickey

Art is a language that can transcend words. It can convey some of the nonverbal consciousness of the artist to the viewer.     

Ron Gang

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end.     

James Joyce

Art is a line around your thoughts.     

Gustav Klimt

Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation; it favors no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal, and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible.     

Richard Kamler

All art is a revolt against man's fate.     

Andre Malraux

Art is the imitation of nature in her manner of operation: Art is the principle of manufacture.      

St. Thomas Aquinas

Artists... like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In art, as in politics, there is no such thing as gratitude.     

George Bernard Shaw

In art., as in love, instinct is enough.     

Anatole France

Art, like the microscope, reveals many things that the naked eye does not see.     

George Moore

Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness.     

George Jean Nathan

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.     

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all the living and creating peoples.      

Franklin D. Roosevelt

A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.     

Eugene Ionesco

Great art is an instant arrested in eternity.     

James G. Huneker

Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary, all the same.     

Gunter Glass

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

Oscar Wilde

Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.     

Leo Tolstoy

The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music.     

Agnes De Mille

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned.     

William Butler Yeats

Art is the window to man's soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within.      

Claudia Johnson

Art is the objectification of feelings     

Susanne K. Langer

Art is the soul of the people.     

Romare Bearden