Love letters and violent manifestos by history's great artists
Millions of artists create; only a few thousands are discussed or accepted by the spectator
The great trouble with art ... is that there is no spirit of revolt
I am Nin-jirsu. No country can bear my fierce stare, nobody escapes my outstretched arms.
Your kingship is good for the people. The people spend their days in abundance thanks to you.
The boy not only equalled his master, but ... brought back to life the true art of painting
We ask of our rulers no special favors, no special privileges, no special legislation. We ask justice.
The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid from the artist's pencil.
All knowledge hath taught me, All sorrow hath brought me, Are smothered sighs That pleasure lies
Her breath caught with short plucks and fast:— Then one hot choking strain. She never breathed again:
Her spirit sits aloof, and high, Altho' it looks thro' her soft eye Sweetly and tenderly.
Show me the man whose happiness was anything more than illusion, followed by disillusion.
The gods have given him health, victory and power, and all other good things, and he and his children shall retain the kingship for all time.
I am one of those gods, the Powers who effect the triumph of Osiris over his adversaries on the day of the Weighing of the Words : I am thy kinsman, Osiris.
Sit today, my dear child: whosoever's hungry, may bark: the warhose flies in the wind: the pointer with the trowel: is truly my worst foe.
I remember being awakened one morning by voices in the room where I slept.
Suddenly an immense wave rose up like a raging mountain, caught the vessel and carried it towards the beach.
I have heard tell, he had made some heads from nature, so beautiful and so well executed that speech alone was wanting to give them life.
He was brought up in Venice, and took unceasing delight in the joys of love
My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts
Therefore one day it will come to pass, that the mouth of those vipers will be stopped and the triple crown will be brought to nought
Now which is the worse defect? to be blind or dumb?
The essential character of symbolic art consists in never approaching the concentrated kernel of the Idea in itself.
Painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist of the representation of real and existing things
We are like a raging wind that rips up the clothes of clouds and prayers, we are preparing the great spectacle of disaster, conflagration and decomposition.
May the downfall of the old world be etched on the palms of your hands.
Ancient life was all silence. Today, Noise reigns supreme over the sensibility of men.
Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions.
Art should be independent of all clap-trap—should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like.
Listen! There never was an artistic period. There never was an Art-loving nation. In the beginning, man went forth each day—all that they might gain and live, or lose and die.
I'm sending this letter along with that of your dear daughter Anna, my dear colleague in the arts, in order to tell you of my deep affection for her.
In what honour and dignity this art was anciently held amongst the Greeks and Romans, the old authors sufficiently testify; though afterwards all but lost, while it lay hid for more than a thousand years.
This is how we decompose and recompose the universe according to our marvelous whims, to centuple the powers of the Italian creative genius and its absolute preeminence in the world.
By eliminating everything superfluous to the technical means of their craft the Cubists finally reached the common ground where a general, synthetic culture becomes possible.
The day was for supplication, the night was for prayer. The moonlight ... early morning, its master.
Transcript of the OGPU (United State Political Agency) Interrogation of Malevich, September 1930
Abandon love, abandon aestheticism, abandon the baggage of wisdom, for in the new culture, your wisdom is ridiculous and insignificant. I have untied the knots of wisdom and liberated the consciousness of color!
I shake off the dust of the West, and I consider all those people ridiculous and backward who still imitate Western models in the hope of becoming pure painters and who fear literariness more than death.
I condemn without hesitation the position of the Knave of Diamonds, which has replaced creative activity with theorizing.
And then everything will be ended. Everything will be ended. I shall die with the dying year.
What if I should die suddenly, carried away by some swift disease? After my death they would search among my papers; my journal would be found, my family would destroy it, and in a short time, of me there would remain nothing—nothing—nothing!
The red door, aglow with the gold of ornament, slowly opens. In the twilight of Dukhang, the gigantic image of Maitreya majestically rises into the height.
Who can hope to attack effectively what indifference has made invincible?
I to bring to these people my spontaneous good-will; my art ... while on the other hand, they bring to me nothing but their unfriendly, inquisitive and mischievous selves.
I was in my bathtub when the first Big Berthe fell. It was evident that some new terror was upon us.
His glasses strangely dulled, his eyes they became an opaque barrier
What makes a piece of artwork significant, is the fullness of the artist’s efforts, the powerfulness of his or her will.
I used to say: “What is naked is chaste, what is naked is beautiful,” and I didn’t know what it was. Now, I know it and I like it; alas! why must it not be chaste? and why must attractive delights of necessity be indecent?
What a pitfall the practice of Antiquity can be. — It is an art that is too rich, too perfect, too general, of bygone idealism, and for which the conventions have become nearly incomprehensible
My indifference to money no doubt proceeded from the fact that wealth was not necessary to me.
On my arrival one of them brought in a jar of rose-water, with which he sprinkled my hands; then the tallest, whose name was Davich Kahn, gave me a sitting. I did him standing, with his hand on his dagger.
My young reputation attracted a number of strangers to our house. Several distinguished personages came to see me, among them the notorious Count Orloff, one of Peter the Third's assassins.
...In the first is a river of red wine, about which are singers and musicians, both men and women, as it were drunk, and a naked woman who is sleeping, so beautiful that she might be alive, together with other figures; and on this picture Tiziano wrote his name.
Beginning with the oldest and most important, I shall speak first of Agnolo called Bronzino, a Florentine painter truly most rare and worthy of all praise.
It was the wont of the finest spirits in all their actions, through a burning desire for glory, to spare no labour, however grievous, in order to bring their works to that perfection which might render them impressive and marvelous to the whole world.
Meanwhile, pursuing his amours in secret, Raffaello continued to divert himself beyond measure with the pleasures of love; whence it happened that, having on one occasion indulged in more than his usual excess, he returned to his house in a violent fever.
Thus far have I thought fit to discourse from the beginning of sculpture and of painting, and peradventure at greater length than was necessary in this place, which I have done, indeed, not so much carried away by my affection for art as urged by the common benefit and advantage of our craftsmen.
This is the antique form of the letters; but in these days there is used a more elegant text —
Dost thou see how the unjust tyranny of worldly power and the might of darkness prevail? Hear, thou knight of Christ, ride on beside the Lord Jesus; guard the truth, win the martyr's crown!
Sketching outdoors was a fluid process, half looking, half dreaming, awaiting invitation from the spirit of the subject to "come, meet me half way."
Three times that morning he had stood behind my easel and roared, "Scrape!" When he came the fourth time and said it again, my face went red.
The town was on fire, the quarter where the poor Jews lived. They carried the bed and the mattress, the mother and the babe at her feet, to a safe place at the other end of town. But, first of all, I was born dead.
Then there seems to me nothing special about what I have done. That torments me. Potency, potency is diminishing.
More than annoyed, sad. More than sad, unhappy. More than unhappy, suffering.
From tasting evil, the blood of the sons of Adam was turned into the poison of semen, out of which the sons of man are begotten.
When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight.
She is Divine Wisdom... She is awesome in terror as the Thunderer's lightening, and gentle in goodness as the sunshine.
And I made a rural pen, And I stained the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs — Every child may joy to hear.
The pleasure of traveling, it seems to me, is chiefly experienced after the journey is over; when we can sit down by our own snug fire-side, free from all fatigues and annoyances...
We see that nations have sprung from obscurity, risen to glory, and decayed. Their rise has in general been marked by virtue; their decadence by vice, vanity, and licentiousness. Let us beware!
The good, the enlightened of all ages and nations, have found pleasure and consolation in the beauty of the rural earth.
A first encounter with any new phenomenon exercises immediately an impression on the soul.
Whoever wants to know something about me - as an artist which alone is significant - they should look attentively at my pictures...
Neo-Plasticism demonstrates exact order. Equilibrium through neutralizing opposition annihilates individuals...and creates a future society as true unity.
Universal beauty does not arise from form, but from the dynamic rhythm of inherent relationships. Art has shown that it is a question of determining the relations.
We’re in the presence of an unspoiled creature with the instincts of a wild beast. With Gauguin, blood and sex have the edge over ambition.
You see, I have made a great discovery: I no longer believe in anything...what I can only describe as a state of peace—
Nature has more depth than surface, hence the need to introduce in our vibrations of light, represented by reds and yellows, enough blue tints to give a feeling of air.
I quite like the subject of violent exercise. It makes the most surprising painting you can imagine.
A certain ennui is always with me, and when I forget my sorrow for a moment it’s because I’ve had a drink.
Literature has exalted pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We exalt aggressive action, a feverish insomnia...The world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed.
The organization of artistic elements must be applied to the design of the material elements of everyday life.
"...don't lose your temper and spoil our fun. After all, it isn't every day we come to Paris and good heavens, since we've seen all these lovely things at the Fair!"
"Money, lovely Money, don't ever leave me you are worth more than all the women in the world."
His appearance is notable because of his bushy beard ... believing as he does that complete freedom to produce must be granted to the innovator whose thought is elevated toward the beautiful and the good.
All these celebrated men were in agreement in saying I should persevere and that notwithstanding my being forty years old it was still not too late.
Just as the ancients drew inspiration for their art from the elements of nature, we—who are materially and spiritually artificial—must find that inspiration in the elements of the utterly new mechanical world we have created.
Come and join the struggle against all things negative and corrupting.
Art is harmony. Harmony is the analogy of contrary elements and the analogy of similar elements of tone, color and line...
Without doubt you can call him John Testicle, who sets himself to criticizing someone else who could be his master for a hundred years.
Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil... Good is heaven. Evil is hell.
The Poetic Genius is the true Man and the body or outward form of Man is derived from the Poetic Genius.
I travelled through a land of men, A land of men and women too, And heard and saw such dreadful things, As cold earth wanderers never knew.
And I who am changed through her, as the winged magician wishes, do not see or ask anything but virtue and beauty, whence I could perhaps discern your whole soul.
The examples that I have the honor of presenting are the first results of my extensive research on the manner of fixing the image of objects by the action of light.
Light acts chemically upon bodies. It is absorbed, it combines with them, and communicates new properties. Such, in a few words, is the principle of the discovery.
How can generations of sculptors can continue to construct dummies without asking why the exhibition halls of sculpture have become reservoirs of boredom and nausea?
The selector used to find the pages shown above is:
template=artwork|writing|artist|movement|book|medium|subject|location, limit=100, template=writing, sort=-modified, sort=year_completed