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Art Theory

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

A Call to the New Art

Kazimir Malevich, 1920

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

A Green Sun

1910

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

Art and Socialism

William Morris, 1884

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

1936

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 Whistler, 1878

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

Concerning the Spiritual in Art — Part 2: About Painting

Wassily Kandinsky, 1910

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 Kandinsky, 1910

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 Gleizes, 1926

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

Cubism — a Diatribe

Natalia Goncharova, 1912

'What is this shocking anomaly you are producing?'

Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art

Paul Klee, 1928

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 Metzinger, 1912

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 Malevich, 1915

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 Cézanne, 1904

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 Braque, 1917

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 Braque, 1964

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

Monas Hieroglyphica

John Dee, 1564

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 Matisse, 1908

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 Matisse, 1939

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

Notes on Constructivist Art

Liubov Popova, 1921

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

Of the Standard of Taste

1742

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 Denis, 1904

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 Boccioni, 1913

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

Sensitiveness

Giorgio de Chirico, 1944

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 Seurat, 1890

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 Morris, 1889

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

The Bases of the New Creation

Olga Rozanova, 1913

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

The Futurist Cinema

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, 1916

Great minds don't always think alike

The New Art — The New Life

Piet Mondrian, 1993

Present-day beauty: the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent

The Painter of Modern Life

1863

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 Whistler, 1878

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 Goncharova, 1913

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 Millais, 1888

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

Ways to Study Nature

Paul Klee, 1923

More Themes in Art

Cats

Still Lifes

Getting out the skin

The Nude in Art

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