quotes about art, architecture and other important things

a collection of quotes that I gathered over the years through my reading.  I don't necessarily agree with all of the ideas and opinions expressed herein but those that either provoked thought or tickled were included.

artist

falling out of love

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“I would advise you to wait a while until your enthusiasm for your project has boiled over.  Afterwards, you may return and consider it more carefully, when your judgment is no longer swayed by fondness for your design but guided by calm reason.” Leon Battista Alberti [1404-1472] Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; he epitomized the Renaissance man

Leon Battista Alberti

Leon Battista Alberti

when do we eat?

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“An artist without ideas is a mendicant; barren, he goes begging among the hours.” – –  from The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone [1903-1989] American writer

Irving (Tannenbaum) Stone

Irving (Tannenbaum) Stone

“An artist is never poor.” – –  the character Babette speaking to the sisters Martina and Phillipa in the film Babette’s Feast

Stéphane Audran portraying Babette

Stéphane Audran portraying Babette

that’s genius!

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“Execution is the chariot of genius.” – – William Blake [1757-1827] English painter, poet and printmaker

William Blake

William Blake

“Genius is staying up in the air longer than anyone else.” – – Vaslav Nijinsky [1889-1950] Polish ballet dancer and choreographer

Vaslav Nijinsky

Vaslav Nijinsky

“What moves men of genius, or rather, what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” – – Eugene Delacroix [1798-1863] French Romantic artist

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

“In order to feel that the epoch we are fashioning with our hands today will go beyond the poverty of the purely functional, it is necessary to be a genius or to be young.” – – Sigfried Giedion [1888-1968] Bohemian Swiss architect, critic and writer

Sigfried Giedion

Sigfried Giedion

beauty is the thing

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“Beauty is the only thing of any importance.” — Phillip Johnson [1906-2005] American architect advocating the the modernist then the postmodernist idiom

Philip Cortelyou Johnson

Philip Cortelyou Johnson

“Beauty is the highest and finest kind of morality.” – – Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803-1882] American philosopher essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century

Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca1857_retouched

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Beauty will result from the form and correspondence of the whole, with respect to the several parts, of the parts with regard to each other, and of these again to the whole.”  – – Andrea Palladio [1508-1580] Italian architect active in the Republic of Venice

Palladio_filtered

“Architecture, like the shaft of an axe, must beautifully and precisely symbolize its own good reasons for its necessary existence.  Insight and sincerity will tell us which reasons are good.” – – Ralph Erskine [1914-2005] Swedish architect and planner

Ralph ErskineCBRE, RFS, ARIBA

Ralph Erskine, CBRE, RFS, ARIBA

“The terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture.” – – Salvador Dali [1904–1989] Spanish Catalan surrealist painter

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol

“What beauty is I do not know.  No one knows it except God.” – – Albrecht Dürer [1471-1528] German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer

“The root of beauty is audacity.” – –  Boris Pasternak [1890-1960] Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

“Beauty is a guidepost, a sign that we are on the right road to a more encompassing goal — happiness, wisdom, spiritual vitality.” – –  Mindy Aloff [b. 1947] American editor, journalist, essayist, and dance critic

Mindy Aloff

Mindy Aloff

“The accepted view since Romanticism is that beauty is wholly relative and that every age and every nation has its different ideals.  This was the way in which the classical ideal of beauty was undermined.  I think this has by now been much overstated.  I do think that there is a normal biological reaction to health and harmony and beauty which transcends the different culture modifications… I haven’t gone into it and wouldn’t go out on a limb to say, ‘This must be so.’  But if you look at Indian miniatures, or Persian, or if you look – – and that is a less savory subject — at the success of pinup girls… it seems to me very unlikely that every human being could become a pinup girl.  I do not believe that there are objective criteria from an objective basis, both in perception — I don’t believe that people always saw the world differently — and in beauty.” – –  E. H. Gombrich [1909-2001] Austrian British art historian and writer

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, OM, CBE

“We believe that, if we ask why the world is the way it is and then ask why that answer is the way it is, at the end of this chain of explanations we shall find a few simple principles of compelling beauty.  We think this in part because our historical experience teaches us that as we look beneath the surface of things, we find more and more beauty.  Plato and the neo-Platonists taught that the beauty we see in nature is a reflection of the beauty of the ultimate, the nous.  For us, too, the beauty of present theories is an anticipation, a premonition, of the beauty of the final theory.  And in any case, we would not accept any theory as final unless it were beautiful.” – – Steven Weinberg [b. 1933] American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate  and author of Dreams of a Final Theory

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg

“I shall define beauty as a unity of all the parts founded upon a precise law and in such a way that nothing can be added, diminished, or altered but for the worse.”

“Each part of a building must correspond to all the others so as to contribute to the success and beauty of the whole.  The building cannot be beautiful in only one of its parts while the others are neglected; all must harmonise in order to appear as a single, well articulated body; not a jumble of unrelated fragments.”

“Thus beauty resides at the very top of the object that is reduced to unity and invests both the whole and its single parts.  But when the idea takes possession of an object that is already one in itself, in which the parts are already identical, then it overflows, as it were, into the whole completely.  Let us take an example.  Imagine nature conferring beauty upon things in the same way that a body becomes beautiful, through communion with a rational form of divine origin.”

“Some will argue that the beauty of a building is relative, a matter of opinion. They will say that the forms of buildings must vary according to each man’s personal taste, and that they cannot be reduced to any rule of art. It is a physical defect of the ignorant to reject what they cannot understand.”

– – all from Leon Battista Alberti [1404-1472] Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; he epitomized the Renaissance man

Leon Battista Alberti

 

on skeuomorphism

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“American architecture is the art of covering one thing with another thing to imitate a third thing which, if genuine, would not be desirable.” — Leopold Eidlitz [1823-1908] Bohemian American architect

Leopold Eidlitz

Leopold Eidlitz

“Technically speaking, a material is fake when it displays some but not all of the qualities of the material we take it to be.  And it is the selecting of qualities that “will do” from the complex of qualities properly belonging to the real stuff that, together with the dissemblance, indicates what Sartre would have called “bad faith” on the part of the designer/provider toward the user/appreciator…… unless, that is the deception is framed as such.” – – Michael Benedikt [b. around 1948] architect, writer

benedikt_page_1_photo

Michael Benedikt

“Truth in architecture is only present when every material is shown on its own merits and mimics not the resemblance of any others.” – – Charles Renee Mackintosh [1868-1928] Scottish architect, artist

Charles Renee Mackintosh

Charles Renee Mackintosh

“Beauty isn’t things trying to look like something else.  Beauty is things being just what they are.”  – – Phædrus in LILA:  An Inquiry Into Morals by Robert M. Pirsig [b. 1928] American philosopher, writer

Robert Maynard Pirsig

Robert Maynard Pirsig