Never judge a work of art by its defects.
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout man.—A scoffing Raphael, or an irreverent Michael Angelo, is not conceivable.
Very sacred is the vocation of the artist, who has to do directly with the works of God, and interpret the teaching of creation to mankind. All honor to the man who treats it sacredly; who studies, as in God's presence, the thoughts of God which are expressed to him; and makes all things according to the pattern which he is ever ready to show to earnest and reverent genius on the mount.
The real truthfulness of all works of imagination,—sculpture, painting, and written fiction, is so purely in the imagination, that the artist never seeks to represent positive truth, but the idealized image of a truth.
Art does not imitate nature, but founds itself on the study of nature—takes from nature the selections which best accord with its own intention, and then bestows on them that which nature does not possess, viz.: the mind and soul of man.
Art employs method for the symmetrical formation of beauty, as science employs it for the logical exposition of truth; but the mechanical process is, in the last, ever kept visibly distinct, while in the first it escapes from sight amid the shows of color and the shapes of grace.
Art, as far as it has the ability, follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master, so that art must be, as it were, a descendant of God.
The object of art is to crystallize emotion into thought, and then fix it in form.
True art is reverent imitation of God.
The artist ought never to perpetuate a temporary expression.
The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality.
The artist is the child in the popular fable, every one of whose tears was a pearl. Ah! the world, that cruel stepmother, beats the poor child the harder to make him shed more pearls.
Artists are nearest God. Into their souls he breathes his life, and from their hands it comes in fair, articulate forms to bless the world.
The mission of art is to represent nature; not to imitate her.
Art does not lie in copying nature.— Nature furnishes the material by means of which to express a beauty still unexpressed in nature.—The artist beholds in nature more than she herseif is conscious of.
In the art of design, color is to form what verse is to prose, a more harmonious and luminous vehicle of thought.
The ordinary true, or purely real, cannot be the object of the arts.—Illusion on a ground of truth, that is the secret of the fine arts.
Would that we could at once paint with the eyes!—In the long way from the eye through the arm to the pencil, how much is lost!
Since I have known God in a saving manner, painting, poetry, and music have had charms unknown to me before. —I have either received what I suppose is a taste for them, or religion has refined my mind, and made it susceptible of new impressions from the sublime and beautiful.—O, how religion secures the heightened enjoyment of those pleasures which keep so many from God by their being a source of pride!
The perfection of art is to conceal art.
The learned understand the reason of art; the unlearned feel the pleasure.
All great art is the expression of man's delight in God's work, not his own.
All that is good in art is the expression of one soul talking to another, and is precious according to the greatness of the soul that utters it.
The names of great painters are like passing bells.—In Velasquez you hear sounded the fall of Spain; in Titian, that of Venice; in Leonardo, that of Milan; in Raphael, that of Rome.—And there is profound justice in this; for in proportion to the nobleness of power is the guilt of its use for purposes vain or vile; and hitherto the greater the art the more surely has it been used, and used solely, for the decoration of pride, or the provoking of sensuality.
The painter is, as to the execution of his work, a mechanic; but as to his conception and spirit and design he is hardly below even the poet.
There is no more potent antidote to low sensuality than admiration of the beautiful.—All the higher arts of design are essentially chaste, without respect to the object.—They purify the thoughts, as tragedy purifies the passions.—Their accidental effects are not worth consideration; for there are souls to whom even a vestal is not holy.
The mother of the useful art, is necessity; that of the fine arts, is luxury.—the former have intellect for their father; the latter, genius, which itself is kind of luxury.
The highest triumph of art, is the truest presentation of nature.