Art is a creative expression encompassing a wide range of human activities, products, and experiences, producing an emotional or aesthetic response. Here are what some have said about art, artists, and the artistic process.

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Paris was the place that suited us who were to create the twentieth century art and literature.

— Gertrude Stein

Artists do not experiment. Experiment is what scientists do; they initiate an operation of unknown factors to be instructed by its results. An artist puts down what he knows and at every moment it is what he knows at that moment.

— Gertrude Stein

There’s a time when what you’re creating and the environment you’re creating it in come together.

— Grace Hartigan

We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy and sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They will give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.

— Helen Hayes

Women, poets, and especially artists, like cats; delicate natures only can realize their sensitive nervous systems.

— Helen M. Winslow

For his heart was in his work, and the heart giveth grace unto every art.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One will only be free when one plays and one’s society will become a piece of art.

— Herbert Marcuse

When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.

— Herophilus

When guns boom, the arts die.

— Howard Zinn

A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.

— James Baldwin

There are certain things in which mediocrity is intolerable: poetry, music, painting, public eloquence. What torture it is to hear a frigid speech being pompously declaimed, or second-rate verse spoken with all a bad poet’s bombast!

— Jean de La Bruyere

We tend to think of the Faustian man, the one who fabricates, manipulates, seduces and ends up destroying. But the new image will be man the creator, the artist, the player.

— Jean Houston

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Individuality of expression is the beginning and the end of all art.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry, and Porcelaine.

— John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780

Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They are different processes.

— John Gage

Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel – these are things which should in their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible and above all let finance be primarily national.

— John Maynard Keynes

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.

— John Ruskin

All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.

— John Ruskin

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.

— John Ruskin

A man is born an artist as a hippopotamus is born a hippopotamus; and you can no more make yourself one than you can make yourself a giraffe.

— John Ruskin

Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth.

— John Ruskin

Understand this clearly: you can teach a man to draw a straight line, and to carve it; and to copy and carve any number of given lines or forms, with admirable speed and perfect precision; and you find his work perfect of its kind: but if you ask him to think about any of those forms, to consider if he cannot find any better in his own head, he stops; his execution becomes hesitating; he thinks, and ten to one he thinks wrong; ten to one he makes a mistake in the first touch he gives to his work as a thinking being. But you have made a man of him for all that. He was only a machine before, an animated tool.

— John Ruskin

To study one good master till you understand him will teach you more than a superficial acquaintance with a thousand: power of criticism does not consist in knowing the names or the manner of many painters, but in discerning the excellence of a few.

— John Ruskin

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts – the book of their deeds, the book of their words and the book of their art.

— John Ruskin

All that we call ideal in Greek or any other art, because to us it is false and visionary, was, to the makers of it, true and existent.

— John Ruskin

The role of the artist I now understood as that of revealing through the world-surfaces the implicit forms of the soul, and the great agent to assist the artist was the myth.

— Joseph Campbell

I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of humankind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism.

— Judy Chicago

I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of humankind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism.

— Judy Chicago

Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite — getting something down.

— Julia Cameron

I feel there are two people inside me — me and my intuition. If I go against her, she’ll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely.

— Kim Basinger

Art is the only thing you cannot punch a button for. You must do it the old-fashioned way. Stay up and really burn the midnight oil. There are no compromises.

— Leontyne Price

Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine.

— Magdalena Abakanowicz

It is easy to follow, but it is uninteresting to do easy things. We find out about ourselves only when we take risks, when we challenge and question.

— Magdalena Abakanowicz

Art will remain the most astonishing activity of mankind born out of struggle between wisdom and madness, between dream and reality in our mind.

— Magdalena Abakanowicz

Great art picks up where nature ends.

— Marc Chagall

If you want to photograph a man spinning, give some thought to why he spins. Understanding for a photographer is as important as the equipment he uses.

— Margaret Bourke-White

Art can only be truly art by presenting an adequate outward symbol of some fact in the interior life.

— Margaret Fuller

Thou art greatly wise, my friend, and ever respected by me, yet I find not in your theory or your scope, room enough for the lyric inspirations, or the mysterious whispers of life. To me it seems that it is madder never to abandon oneself, than often to be infatuated; better to be wounded, a captive, and a slave, than always to walk in armor.

— Margaret Fuller, Free Hope

Art is play. And when it is no longer play it is no longer art.

— Marty Rubin

[Jazz] is the ultimate temporal art form. It’s about the human experience of time.

— Matt Glaser

Art is a game. Too bad for him who makes a duty of it.

— Max Jacob

Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it?

— Michel de Montaigne

A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

— Orson Welles

The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.

— Orson Welles

I have no great message to the world.

— Orson Welles

The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.

— Oscar Wilde

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease to be an artist.

— Oscar Wilde
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