Trivium Art History

Art Theory

May the downfall of the old world be etched on the palms of your hands.

A Call to the New Art

Kazimir Malevich1920

Even if someone paints a 'green sun', I will not say it is wrong.

A Green Sun

Kōtarō Takamura1910

It is right and necessary that all men should have work to do which shall he worth doing

Art and Socialism

William Morris1884

A treatise on the effect of infinite reproducibility on art, and a caution against fascist propaganda. Both more relevant than ever.

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction


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.

Art is not a slave of culture

James McNeill Whistler1878

Beauty, Fashion & Happiness

Charles Baudelaire1863


Charles Baudelaire1863

I beg the reader's patience while I lead him step by step into the knowledge of what I think the sublime in form, so remarkably displayed in the human body.

Chapter 10: Compositions with the Waving Line

William Hogarth1753

If anyone should ask, what it is that constitutes a fine proportioned human figure? how ready and seemingly decisive is the common answer...

Chapter 11: Proportion

William Hogarth1753

As light must always be supposed, I need only speak of such privations of it as are called shades or shadows

Chapter 12: Light and Shadow

William Hogarth1753

Under this head I shall attempt to show what it is that gives the appearance of that hollow or vacant space in which all things move so freely.

Chapter 13: Light, Shadow and Color

William Hogarth1753

The utmost beauty of coloring depends on the great principle of varying, and on the proper and artful union of that variety.

Chapter 14: Coloring Skin

William Hogarth1753

Out of the great number of faces that have been formed since the creation of the world, no two have been so exactly alike...

Chapter 15: The Face

William Hogarth1753

The general idea of an action, as well as of an attitude, may be given with a pencil in very few lines.

Chapter 16: Attitude

William Hogarth1753

Action is a sort of language which perhaps, one time or other, may come to be taught by a kind of grammar rules; but, at present, is only got by rote and imitation.

Chapter 17: Action

William Hogarth1753

Fitness of design...either by art or nature, is first to be considered, as it is of the greatest consequence to the beauty of the whole.

Chapter 1: Fitness

William Hogarth1753

Plants, flowers, leaves, the paintings in butterflies wings, shells, etc. seem of little other use than entertaining the eye with the pleasure of variety.

Chapter 2: Variety

William Hogarth1753

In which we learn that symmetry is over-rated and uniformity is boring.

Chapter 3: Uniformity

William Hogarth1753

Simplicity, without variety, is wholly insipid, and at best does only not displease; but when variety is joined to it, then it pleases.

Chapter 4: Simplicity

William Hogarth1753

Intricacy in form, therefore, I shall define to be that peculiarity in the lines, which compose it, that leads the eye a wanton kind of chase

Chapter 5: Intricacy

William Hogarth1753

Forms of magnitude, although ill-shaped, will however, on account of their vastness, draw our attention and raise our admiration.

Chapter 6: Quantity

William Hogarth1753

The straight line and the circular line, together with their different combinations and variations, circumscribe all visible objects.

Chapter 7: Lines

William Hogarth1753

We will next show how lines may be put together, so as to make pleasing figures or compositions.

Chapter 8: Composition

William Hogarth1753

There is scarce a room in any house whatever, where one does not see the waving-line employed in some way or other.

Chapter 9: The Waving Line

William Hogarth1753

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.


Emily Carr1946

A first encounter with any new phenomenon exercises immediately an impression on the soul.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art — Part 2: About Painting

Wassily Kandinsky1910

Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art — Part 1

Wassily Kandinsky1910

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.

Cubism and the General Culture

Albert Gleizes1926

I condemn without hesitation the position of the Knave of Diamonds, which has replaced creative activity with theorizing.

Cubism — a Diatribe

Natalia Goncharova1912

'What is this shocking anomaly you are producing?'

Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art

Paul Klee1928

There is nothing real outside ourselves; there is nothing real except the coincidence of a sensation and an individual mental direction.

Excerpts from Du "Cubisme"

Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger1912

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!

From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism

Kazimir Malevich1915

Neo-Plasticism demonstrates exact order. Equilibrium through neutralizing opposition annihilates individuals...and creates a future society as true unity.

General Principals of Neo-Plasticism

Piet Mondrian1926

He knew her hair to be the golden veil through which he beheld his dreams

Hand and Soul

Dante Gabriel Rossetti1850

In Praise of Cosmetics

Charles Baudelaire1863

I shall endeavor to show what the principles are in nature, by which we are directed to call the forms of some bodies beautiful, others ugly


William Hogarth1753

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.

Letters from Paul Cézanne to Emile Bernard

Paul Cézanne1904

In art, progress does not consist in extension, but in the knowledge of limits. Limitation determines style, engenders new form, and gives impulse to creation.

Meaning in Modern Art

Georges Braque1917

You see, I have made a great discovery: I no longer believe in anything...what I can only describe as a state of peace—

Metamorphosis and Mystery

Georges Braque1964

Mnemonic Art

Charles Baudelaire1863


Charles Baudelaire1863

It is by the straight line and the circle that the representation of all things may be demonstrated.

Monas Hieroglyphica

John Dee1564

Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive.

Notes of a Painter

Henri Matisse1908

My classical education naturally led me to study the Masters ... until the day when I realized that for me it was necessary to forget the technique of the Masters, or rather understand it in a completely personal manner. Isn’t this the rule with every artist of classical training?

Notes of a Painter on His Drawing

Henri Matisse1939

The organization of artistic elements must be applied to the design of the material elements of everyday life.

Notes on Constructivist Art

Liubov Popova1921

The sentiments of men often differ with regard to beauty and deformity of all kinds

Of the Standard of Taste

David Hume1742

What makes a piece of artwork significant, is the fullness of the artist’s efforts, the powerfulness of his or her will.

On Raphael and the Power of Will

Maurice Denis1904

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.

Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art - Part 1

Piet Mondrian1936

Conflict is also a part of life and of art, but it is not the whole of life or of universal beauty. Life is the interaction of two oppositions of the same value.

Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art - Part 2

Piet Mondrian1936

It is the creation of a new form which expresses the relativity between weight and expansion, between rotation and revolution; here, in fact, we have life itself caught in a form which life has created in its infinite succession of events.

Plastic Dynamism

Umberto Boccioni1913

Pomps and Circumstances

Charles Baudelaire1863

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.

Preface to the Lives

Giorgio Vasari1550

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.

Preface to the Work

Giorgio Vasari1550

It is often said of a picture: this picture is not extraordinary, it is nothing remarkable, but “it shows great sensitiveness”.


Giorgio de Chirico1944

Art is harmony. Harmony is the analogy of contrary elements and the analogy of similar elements of tone, color and line...

The Aesthetics of Tone, Color, and Line

Georges Seurat1890

The Annals of War

Charles Baudelaire1863

The Artist, man of the World

Charles Baudelaire1863

The purpose of applying art: to add beauty to the results of the work of man and to add pleasure to the work itself

The Arts and Crafts of Today

William Morris1889

There is nothing more awful in the world than repetition, uniformity

The Bases of the New Creation

Olga Rozanova1913

Millions of artists create; only a few thousands are discussed or accepted by the spectator

The Creative Act

Marcel Duchamp1957

The Dandy

Charles Baudelaire1863

This is how we decompose and recompose the universe according to our marvelous whims

The Futurist Cinema

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti1916

The great trouble with art ... is that there is no spirit of revolt

The Great Trouble with Art

Marcel Duchamp1946

The Military Man

Charles Baudelaire1863
The New Art — The New Life

The New Art — The New Life — Great minds don't always think alike

Piet Mondrian, Harry Holtzman, Martin S. James1993
The Painter of Modern Life

The Painter of Modern Life — Present-day beauty: the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent

Charles Baudelaire1863

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.

The Red Rag

James McNeill Whistler1878

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.

The Rise of Russian Art

Natalia Goncharova1913

The Sketch of Manners

Charles Baudelaire1863

John Tupper attempts to untangle 'fine art' from 'high art' and confuses both himself and his audience

The Subject in Art, No.1


I AM emphatically of opinion that the best Art of modern times is as good as any of its kind that has gone before, and furthermore, that the best Art of England can hold its own against the world.

Thoughts on our Art of Today

John Everett Millais1888

The artist is himself nature and a part of nature in natural space

Ways to Study Nature

Paul Klee1923


Charles Baudelaire1863

Women and Prostitutes

Charles Baudelaire1863

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