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80 Quotes about Art to Inspire the Artist in You

Every artist, beginner or professional, needs a little boost in their inspiration to overcome artist's block or, perhaps, just get some motivation. Here's a list of 80 quotes from the master artists, from Picasso to Pike, from painters to philosophers, from writers to poets. Enjoy!

Everything you can imagine is real.

— Pablo Picasso

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

— Leonardo da Vinci

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

— Pablo Picasso

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

— Pablo Picasso

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.

— Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.

— Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War

 One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

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

— Thomas Merton , No Man Is an Island

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

— Pablo Picasso

...and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?

— Vincent Willem van Gogh

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. 

— Albert Einstein

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. 

— Pablo Picasso

The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands. 

— Leonardo da Vinci

Art is the proper task of life. 

— Friedrich Nietzsche

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

— Aristotle

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.

— Banksy

The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.

— Mikhail Bakunin

Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.

— Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change - it can not only move us, it makes us move.

— Ossie Davis

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

— Stella Adler

Music is an outburst of the soul.

— Frederick Delius

For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

— George Bernard Shaw

A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist. 

— Vladimir Nabokov

The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.

— Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death

Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first. 

— Arthur Schopenhauer

Speak against unconscious oppression,
 Speak against the tyranny of the unimaginative,
 Speak against bonds.

— Ezra Pound

The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies.

— Kate Chopin, The Awakening and Selected Stories

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 most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

— Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being. 

— Carl Gustav Jung

Never judge a work of art by its defects.

— Washington Allston

A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.

— Rita Mae Brown

I shut my eyes in order to see.

— Paul Gauguin

Good ideas stay with you until you eventually write the story.

— Brian Keene

Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.

— Karl Lagerfeld

In art as in love, instinct is enough. 

— Anatole France

Every true artist is at war with the world.

— Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue

Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.

— Robert Henri

Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without thorn.

— Martin Amis

A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist. 

— Louis Nizer

When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.

— Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

The business of art lies just in this, -- to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.

— Leo Tolstoy, What Is Art?

Proportion is the heart of beauty.

— Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth

If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few. To please many is bad. 

— Friedrich von Schiller

The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.

— Federico Garcia-Lorca

Do whatever you do intensely.

— Robert Henri

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.  

— Eugene Delacroix

Basically there can be no categories such as 'religious' art and 'secular' art, because all true art is incarnational, and therefore 'religious'.

— Madeleine L'Engle

One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.

— Albert Einstein

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist. 

— Ren Magritte

It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

All real works of art look as though they were done in joy.

— Robert Henri

What is fair in men, passes away, but not so in art.

— Leonardo da Vinci

The public wants work which flatters its illusions.

— Gustave Flaubert

When the creative impulse sweeps over you, grab it. You grab it and honor it and use it, because momentum is a rare gift. 

— Justina Chen Headley, North of Beautiful

Lies are the religion of slaves and masters. Truth is the god of the free man.

— Maxim Gorky, The Lower Depths, And Other Plays

I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.

— Robert Henri

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

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite -- getting something down.

— Julia Cameron

Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.

— W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.

— Paul Cezanne

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

— Salvador Dal

Maybe you are a poet and a dreamer, but don't you realize that those two species are extinct now?

— J.G. Ballard

The public for which masterpieces are intended is not on this earth.

— Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.

— Emile Zola

Art is literacy of the heart.

— Elliot Eisner

There is no art without contemplation.

— Robert Henri

Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don't see a different purpose for it now.

— Dorothea Tanning

Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

One of the most valuable things one of my art teachers said to me was, 'Don't get upset by criticism. Value the fact that at least someone noticed what you did.

— Chris Ware

You must write as if Dostoyevsky himself will be reading your novel, and Shakespeare will be acting it out.

— Christina Westover, Precipice

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

— Jean Cocteau

We need our Arts to teach us how to breathe. 

— Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.

— Flannery O'Connor

The key to understanding any people is in its art: its writing, painting, sculpture.

— Louis L'Amour, Education of a Wandering Man

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

— Andr Gide

The best art always comes unbidden.

— Christopher Pike, Red Dice

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