Commonplace people have an answer for everything and nothing ever surprises them. They try to look as though they knew what you were about to say better than you did yourself, and when it is their turn to speak, they repeat with great assurance something that they have heard other people say, as though it were their own invention.
There is a man whose qualities can be savored by people who are getting old... The painter qualities are carried to the highest point in his work: what he does is done - through and through; when he paints eyes, they are lit with the fire of life.
It is often we come the closest to the essence of an artist... in his or her pocket notebooks and travel sketchbooks... where written comments and personal notes provide an intimate insight into the magical mind of a working artist.
Weaknesses in men of genius are usually an exaggeration of their personal feeling; in the hands of feeble imitators they become the most flagrant blunders. Entire schools have been founded on misinterpretations of certain aspects of the masters. Lamentable mistakes have resulted from the thoughtless enthusiasm with which men have sought inspiration from the worst qualities of remarkable artists because they are unable to reproduce the sublime elements in their work.
All painting worth its name, unless one is talking about black and white, must include the idea of color as one of its necessary supports, in the same way that it includes chiaroscuro, proportion, and perspective.
There is no merit in being truthful when one is truthful by nature, or rather when one can be nothing else; it is a gift, like poetry or music. But it needs courage to be truthful after carefully considering the matter, unless a kind of pride is involved; for example, the man who says to himself, "I am ugly," and then says, "I am ugly" to his friends, lest they should think themselves the first to make the discovery.
Take hold of objects by their centres, not by their lines of contour... The contour accentuated uniformly and beyond proportion, destroys plasticity, bringing forward those parts of an object which are always most distant from the eye - namely its outlines.
Everything is a subject; the subject is yourself. It is within yourself that you must look and not around you... The greatest happiness is to reveal it to others, to study oneself, to paint oneself continually in [one's] work.
Delsarte tells me that Mozart stole outrageously from Galuppi, in the same way, I suppose, that Molière stole from anybody anywhere, if he found something work taking. I said that what was Mozart had not been stolen from Galuppi, or from anyone else for that matter.
Mediocre people have an answer for everything and are astonished at nothing. They always want to have the air of knowing better than you what you are going to tell them; when, in their turn, they begin to speak, they repeat to you with the greatest confidence, as if dealing with their own property, the things that they have heard you say yourself at some other place. A capable and superior look is the natural accompaniment of this type of character.
In every art we are always obliged to return to the accepted means of expression, the conventional language of the art. What is a black-and-white drawing but a convention to which the beholder has become so accustomed that with his mind's eye he sees a complete equivalent in the translation from nature?
The living model never answers well the idea or impressions the painter wishes to express; one must, therefore, learn to do without one, and for that, you must acquire facility, furnish one's memory to the point of infinitude, and make numerous drawings after the old masters.
I am carrying out my plan, so long formulated, of keeping a journal. What I most keenly wish is not to forget that I am writing for myself alone. Thus I shall always tell the truth, I hope, and thus I shall improve myself. These pages will reproach me for my changes of mind.
We should not allow ourselves to believe that writers like Poe have more imagination than those who are content with describing things as they really are. It is surely easier to invent striking situations in this way than to tread the beaten track which intelligent minds have followed throughout the centuries.
The true wisdom of the philosopher ought to insist in enjoying everything. Yet we apply ourselves to dissecting and destroying everything that is good in itself, that has virtue, albeit the virtue there is in mere illusions. Nature gives us this life like a toy to a weak child. We want to see how it all works; we break everything. There remains in our hands, and before our eyes, stupid and opened too late, the sterile wreckage, fragments that will not again make a whole. The good is so simple.
The outcome of my days is always the same; an infinite desire for what one never gets; a void one cannot fill; an utter yearning to produce in all ways, to battle as much as possible against time that drags us along, and the distractions that throw a veil over our soul.
Can any man say with certainty that he was happy at a particular moment of time which he remembers as being delightful? Remembering it certainly makes him happy, because he realizes how happy he could have been, but at the actual moment when the alleged happiness was occurring, did he really feel happy? He was like a man owning a piece of ground in which, unknown to himself, a treasure lay buried.
Real beauty in the arts is eternal and would be accepted at all periods; but it wears the dress of its century: something of that dress clings to it, and woe to the works which appear in periods when the general taste is corrupted.
The artist is always concerned with a total view of the world. However, when the photographer takes a picture ... the edge of his picture is just as interesting as the middle, one can only guess at the existence of a whole, and the view presented seems chosen by chance.
Cold exactitude is not art... The so-called consciousness of the majority of painters is only perfection applied to the art of boring. People like that, if they could, would work with the same minute attention on the back of their canvas.