Quotes about Art


The minkukel database includes a collection of quotes and proverbs about art and modern art. Enjoy!

"To the man who loves art for its own sake, it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived."

Sherlock Holmes
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

… if there happens to be an abandoned air compressor nearby, it should have a sign that says: “Notice! This is not art!” so the public does not waste time enjoying the wrong thing.

Dave Barry

A tiny but dignified old lady was among a group looking at an art exhibition in a newly opened gallery. One modern painting caught her eye. "What on earth," she inquired of the artist standing nearby, "is that?"

He smiled condescendingly. "That, my dear lady, is supposed to be a mother and her child."

"Well, then," snapped the little old lady, "why isn't it?"

A painter's got a canvas. The writer's got reams of empty paper. A musician has silence.

A painter's got a canvas. The writer's got reams of empty paper. A musician has silence.

Keith Richards

A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world.

Edmond de Goncourt

Abstract art is a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.

Al Capp

An artist never really finishes his work,
he merely abandons it.

Paul Valery

Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.

Edith Wharton

Anyway, in the corner of one container there was a ratty old collapsed armchair – worn, dirty, leaking stuffing, possibly housing active vermin colonies. I asked the gallery person if the chair was art, and she said yes, it was a work titled “Chair.” I asked her what role the artist had played in creating “Chair.” She said: “He found it.”

Dave Barry

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


Art does not exist only to entertain, but also to challenge one to think, to provoke, even to disturb, in a constant search for truth.

Barbra Streisand

Art has no enemy except ignorance.


Art hath an enemy called Ignorance.


Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.

Sherlock Holmes
The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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

Andre Gide

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.

Jean Cocteau

Art is a product of an artist. Modern art is a product of a self-proclaimed artist.


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

Jean Paul

Art is long, life is short.

Art is the daughter of freedom.

Friedrich Schiller

Art is to look at not to criticize.

Edgar Allan Poe

Art is to look at. Modern art is to talk about.


Art is unconditional.


Art sometimes is as simple as nothing, and other times as mysterious as nature or a woman.

Jeet Aulakh

Art! Who comprehends her? With whom can one consult concerning this great goddess?

Ludwig van Beethoven

Art’s whatever you choose to frame.

Fleur Adcock

As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.

John Lubbock

Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.

Anatoly Karpov

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.

Claude Monet

Coloring outside the lines is a fine art.

Kim Nance

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.

Pablo Picasso

Competitions are for horse, not artist.

Bela Bartok

Creativity takes courage.

Henri Matisse

Did you hear about the two little boys who found themselves in a modern art gallery by mistake?-“Quick,” said one, “Run ! Before they say we did it!”

Every artist was first an amateur.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Pablo Picasso

God and other artists are always a little obscure.

Oscar Wilde

Great works of art are only great because they are accessible and comprehensible to everyone.

Leo Tolstoy

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.

Salvador Dali

I can’t criticize what I don’t understand. If you want to call this art, you’ve got the benefit of all my doubts.

Charles Rosin

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.

Vincent Van Gogh

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.

Vincent Van Gogh

It’s easy to understand modern art. If it hangs on a wall, it’s a painting. If you can walk around it, it’s a sculpture.

Maybe the actual painting is on the other side.

Dave Barry

Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn’t.

Craig Damrauer

Modern art is a joke!


Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.

John Ciardi

Modern paintings are like women, you’ll never enjoy them if you try to understand them.

Freddie Mercury

Moonlight is sculpture.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.

Walter Savage Landor

Nice frame!

Mr. Bean
Bean (movie 1997)

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

Edgar Degas

People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.

Bill Watterson

Public Art, defined as “art that is purchased by experts who are not spending their own personal money.”

Dave Barry

Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art.

Philip James Bailey

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

Tom Stoppard

That’s not a trash bag — it’s art!

Dave Barry

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art’s audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.

Paul Gauguin

The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.

Vincent van Gogh

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.


There is no blue without yellow and without orange.

Vincent Van Gogh

What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.

Octavio Paz

What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

When nations grow old, the arts grow cold, and commerce settles on every tree.

William Blake

Why is art beautiful? Because it's useless. Why is life ugly? Because it's all ends and purposes and intentions.

Fernando Pessoa

Writing a tune is like sculpting. You get four or five notes, you get one out and move one around, and you do a bit more and eventually, as the sculptor says, 'In that rock there is a statue, we have to go find it'.

John Williams.