10 Quotes on the Arts

I'm an inconsistent quote-collector. I collect them like I collected coins as a kid, haphazardly but enthusiastic when I find a good one. Here are ten quotations (and they really are quotations, not quotes) on the arts that at one point along the way have inspired me. Some made me laugh. Some stirred me deeply. Some I haven't really understood until recently. And most of them, like my coin collection, I picked up without remembering where I got them in the first place. I apologize for my sloppy provenance duties.

Whatever their usefulness, I hope one of them serves you well today. I'm throwing in a few photos in case you get bored (see here for more of the same).

I start with the most important one.

"There is no empirical data to suggest that modern art or exposure to its theories can cause any form of mental disorder.” – Psychiatrist Dr. Jan Scott, Kings College London

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."Hunter S. Thompson

“General Good is the plea of the scoundrel hypocrite and flatterer; for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.” – William Blake

"The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced, and the art which has grown in her womb. Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendor of holiness and art which have arisen in the community of believers than by the clever excuses which apologetics has come up with to justify the dark sides which, sadly, are so frequent in the Church's human history. If the Church is to continue to transform and humanize the world, how can she dispense with beauty in her liturgies, that beauty which is so closely linked with love and with the radiance of the Resurrection? No. Christians must not be too easily satisfied. They must make their Church into a place where beauty—and hence truth—is at home. Without this the world will become the first circle of Hell." – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Art—if it is to be reckoned as one of the great values of life—must teach men humility, tolerance, wisdom, and magnanimity.  The value of art is not beauty, but right action.” – W. Somerset Maugham

"On a final note, for any of you pursuing something that you feel deeply, something you know you need to do in order to be truly alive, something that requires every iota of courage you can muster, something that makes you at times forget there is a clock meticulously ticking, something that requires you to risk losing everything familiar, something that excites you so thoroughly that it sometimes becomes impossible to sleep, know that it will make perfect sense to quit hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times along the way and get on with something else.  Know that you will certain days be numb and exhausted and joyless.  Know that perseverance is infinitely greater than talent.  Refine the work.  Hone the work.  Mercilessly cut away the parts that are not vital.  Then let your growing body of work speak for itself.  And hang on for dear life."  — Linford Detweiler, “Over the Rhine”

“Get a good idea and stay with it.  Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.” – Walt Disney

"So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all." – Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone.  In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill. Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.” – Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

"Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring.  Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating." – Simone Weil


Matthew Clark said…
Love these. Thanks for collecting. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Matthew.
Unknown said…
Finally a Simone Weil quote!

i can find my reference but I like the one that goes
"nothing is saner than art"
I thought it was Chesterton...?
Thanks, Dan, for the extra GKC quote.

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