Art Quotations

 

How admirably the artist is made to accomplish his self-culture by devotion to his art! The wood-sawyer, through his effort to do his work well, becomes not merely a better wood-sawyer, but measurably a better man.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 19 December 1853
In reality, history fluctuates as the face of the landscape from morning to evening. What is of moment is its hue and color. Time hides no treasures; we want not its then, but its now. We do not complain that the mountains in the horizon are blue and indistinct; they are the more like the heavens.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
It is a great art to saunter.—Journal, 26 April 1841
It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and the medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.—Walden
It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from human lips;—not be represented on canvas and marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself.—Walden
Language is the most perfect work of art in the world. The chisel of a thousand years retouches it.—Journal, 27 July 1840
[N]o storms, no dust can dim its surface ever fresh;—a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun's hazy brush,—this the light-dust cloth,—which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still.—Walden
Not how is the idea expressed in stone, or on canvas or paper, is the question, but how far it has obtained form and expression in the life of the artist.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.—"Autumnal Tints"
On every hand we observe a truly wise practice, in education, in morals, and in the arts of life, the embodied wisdom of many an ancient philosopher.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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