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Art History Quotes


"History develops, art stands still." - E M Forster

"The history of art is the history of revivals." - Samuel Butler

"I have a strong art-history background." - Eli Roth

"Art is the suitcase of history, carrying the essentials. Art is the life buoy of history. Art is seed, art is memory, art is vaccine." - Yann Martel

"Art gives life to what history killed. Art gives voice to what history denied, silenced, or persecuted. Art brings truth to the lies of history." - Carlos Fuentes

"Ideally, brewers interpret history, and through science they create art." - Don Spencer

"History is as much an art as a science." - Ernest Renan

"History is remembered by its art, not its war machines." - James Rosenquist

"In my world, history comes down to language and art." - Theodore Bikel

"The history of art is a sequence of successful transgressions." - Susan Sontag

"People regard art too highly, and history not enough" - John Irving

"Art is the most important way of recording history." - Pat Steir

"Unlike poetry and music, the art of history is cumulative." - John Clive

"Great writing can be done in biography, history, art." - V S Naipaul

"I'm not as much a history person as an art person, but I mean, you can read history through art." - Kristen Wiig

"The history of modern culture is a history of popular entertainments evolving into art." - Andrew Hoberek

"The history of an art is the history of masterwork, not of failures, or mediocrity." - Ezra Pound

"Art history is less explosive than the rest of history, so it sinks faster into the pulverized regions of time." - Robert Smithson

"After pop art, graffiti is probably the biggest art movement in recent history to have such an impact on culture." - Jeffrey Deitch

"Art, when destroyed can never be replaced, yet history repeats itself." - Clarence H. Burns

"Archaeology is not only the hand maid of history, it is also the conservator of art." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

"All history and art are against us, but we still expect happiness in love." - Mason Cooley

"The hare of history once more overtakes the tortoise of art." - Kurt Vonnegut

"We can look at history and see that [political turmoil is] fertile ground for art." - Morgan Parker

"I studied anthropology and art history, as I have always been captivated by living traditions." - Cosima Spender

"I think that an obsession with art history gave rise to the work." - Kehinde Wiley

"Archaeology is not only the hand maid of history, it is also the conservator of art." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

"Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history whom each of us must recreate for himself." - Kenneth Clark

"History reveals that left-brain people have been creating art for a long time now." - David Luiz

"Art has this long history, predating even language, of expressing nonverbal information." - Betty Edwards

"The forms of art reflect the history of man more truthfully than do documents themselves." - Theodor Adorno

"Megacollectors suppose they can enter art history by spending astronomical amounts." - Jerry Saltz

"Nothing in a graduate degree in art history prepares you for the eloquence of the eraser." - Adam Gopnik

"Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless." - Honore De Balzac

"All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual." - Honore De Balzac

"I'd love to go off to college to study photography, art history, humanities." - Mia Wasikowska

"An artist should know art history. Shock value only lasts so long." - Robert Longo

"Art history is fine. I mean, that's a discipline. Art history is art history, and you start from the beginning and you end up in artist in time. But art is a little bit different. Art is a conversation. And if there's no conversation, what the hell is it about?" - Lawrence Weiner

"Imagine it's 1981. You're an artist, in love with art, smitten with art history. You're also a woman, with almost no mentors to look to; art history just isn't that into you. Any woman approaching art history in the early eighties was attempting to enter an almost foreign country, a restricted and exclusionary domain that spoke a private language." - Jerry Saltz

"After high school I went to the San Francisco Art Institute, and I began a formalized art education where we went through the history of art but we also went through the art of my contemporaries." - Kehinde Wiley

"I cannot understand why some people try to write a history of photography that is separated from the history of modern art." - Jean-Francois Chevrier

"You know, the history of California art doesn't start until about 1961, and that's when these photographs start. I mean, we have no history out here." - Dennis Hopper

"The history of music is nothing more than the history of art-music or classical music, the music that was commissioned by aristocrats." - Frank Fairfield

"Before the end of Time will be the end of History. Before the end of History will be the end of Art." - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"I like art history and art criticism. Leo Steinberg has always been my favorite. Hes very original, very accurate and acute." - Helen Vendler

"I want to do just, like, regular art. Whatever is made today on canvas goes up against all of art history. Its the most radical thing." - Barry Mcgee

"I like art history and art criticism. Leo Steinberg has always been my favorite. He's very original, very accurate and acute." - Helen Vendler

"I spend much more time looking at art history and at different references to art than I do at actual objects." - Jeff Koons

"I want to do just, like, regular art. Whatever is made today on canvas goes up against all of art history. It's the most radical thing." - Barry Mcgee

"Art needs to be socialised, and you need a lot of context to understand that, and that doesn't mean having read a few art history books." - Peter M Brant

"I really wasn't about to get a Ph.D. in art history, you know, which you'd absolutely needed. And that was not something I wanted. And I loved art history, but not that way." - Robert Barry

"History may clarify our understanding of the supreme work of art, but can never account for it completely; for the Time of art is not the same as the Time of history." - Andre Malraux

"The visual information of art history is going to students seamlessly, without the enormous trouble those of us who are older had when we studied art history many years ago." - Robert Nelson

"There was once a time when art history and film were basically the same medium, but art history is frozen in late-19th-century technology that has survived into the early 21st century." - Robert Nelson

"The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art's audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public." - Paul Gauguin

"I always enjoyed art history because, growing up in California, my exposure was limited, and it was a new experience. To learn the history of art opened up certain things to me, made me see. It intrigued me." - Herb Ritts

"As one who loves literature, art, music and history, I've been deeply rooted in the Harlem Renaissance for many years." - Debbie Allen

"I set my sights upon becoming the kind of artist who would make a contribution to art history" - Judy Chicago

"For me, art history is like a feather bed - you fall into it and it catches you." - David Salle

"Where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?" - David Mamet

"Man simply cannot live as the time-animal and the art-animal that he is, without history." - Carlton J. H. Hayes

"The term 'Pre-Raphaelite' is in danger of becoming one of the most misused tags in art history" - Christopher Wood

"In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums." - Janet Flanner

"As a matter of history great developments in art have often been remarkably separate from religious motivation and use." - Ruth Benedict

"History must always be taken with a grain of salt. It is, after all, not a science but an art ..." - Phyllis Mcginley

"Every age cuts and pastes history to suit its own purposes; art always has an ax to grind." - Ada Louise Huxtable

"Feminist art... will take the great human themes - love, death, heroism, suffering, history itself - and render them fully human." - Andrea Dworkin

"There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books." - Charlie Chaplin

"Art takes different forms... But it represents something that is basic in all of us-our history." - George Clooney

"Man simply cannot live as the time-animal and the art-animal that he is, without history." - Carlton J.H. Hayes

"History is the only science enjoying the ambiguous fortune of being required to be at the same time an art." - Johann Gustav Droysen

"Of late years (perhaps as a result of our political changes) art has borrowed from history more than ever." - Alfred De Vigny

"No, my degree was history, not the practice of art! I can't draw to save my life you know." - Emma Anderson

"I set my sights upon becoming the kind of artist who would make a contribution to art history." - Judy Chicago

"The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with." - Golda Meir

"History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; art has remembered the people, because they created." - William Morris

"It's very hard to find artists in the history of western art who don't make portraiture ideological in some way." - Hilton Als

"I don't like the idea of nationalism, but on the other hand, I do see that there is a difference between British art, German art and Chinese art. This is because of the history, because each country has different history and each country reads and teaches that history differently." - Michael Craig-Martin

"In the USA, we learn "art history" as Western art history, and the history of Asian, or African art is a special case; we learn politics by examining our own government system, and consider other systems special cases, and the same is true of philosophy." - Jay L. Garfield

"If you study the history of mankind, it seems to be a history of violence. Certainly the history of art, whether you look at paintings or movies or plays or whatever, is just a litany of murder and death." - Ethan Hawke

"Jonathan Meese is not interested in the history of reality. Everything radical and precisely graphic is sustainable. Human ideologies like religions and politics are based on the past and therefore irrelevant to art. Art always transforms radicalism of the past into the future. Art is always the total time machine. Jonathan Meese is interested in the history of the future. Art is never nostalgic." - Jonathan Meese

"...throughout the history of art it has been art itself - in all its forms - that has inspired's photographs are so geared to life that one can learn more from them than from life itself." - Van Deren Coke

"I learned more from my mother than from all the art historians and curators who have informed me about technical aspects of art history and art appreciation over the years." - David Rockefeller

"Contemporary art is based on that an artist is supposed to go into art history in the same way as an art historian. When the artist produces something he or she relates to it with the eye of an art historian/critic. I have the feeling that when I am working it is more like working with soap opera or glamour. It is emotional and not art criticism or history of art." - Odd Nerdrum

"I love art, and I love history, but it is living art and living history that I love. It is in the interest of living art and living history that I oppose so-called restoration. What history can there be in a building bedaubed with ornament, which cannot at the best be anything but a hopeless and lifeless imitation of the hope and vigor of the earlier world?" - William Morris

"As the possibilities for straightforward photography seem to have become exhausted it has been the photographers who know about the history of art, not simply the history of photography, who have shaped important directions for the future." - Van Deren Coke

"Our main inspiration [with Alix MacKenzie], I think, came from the Field Museum of Natural History, because they had pieces which were selected not for art content but for their relationship to the anthropological history of mankind." - Warren MacKenzie

"The aim of every authentic artist is not to conform to the history of art, but to release himself from it in order to replace it with his own history." - Harold Rosenberg

"Think about it: you've already related it down to something that somebody else can understand. If art relates to something - it's like Picasso, it's like Mondrian - it's not. Art's supposed to be what it is. Using a reference of art history might help for some kind of sales, but it doesn't really help anybody. Art is what it is; it cannot be footnoted, until it enters the world. Then it has a history. Then the footnotes are the history, not the explanation." - Lawrence Weiner

"As Michael (Chekhov)'s pupil, I learned more about acting. I learned psychology, history, and the good manners of art - taste." - Marilyn Monroe

"History and legend and art and romance meet and mingle to create that indefinable sorcery of Venice. It is like nothing on earth except a poet's dream ..." - Lilian Whiting

"Theater is a very changeable art. It responds to the moment in history the way the newspaper does, and there's no predicting what to come up with next." - Arthur Miller

"Sometimes in the history of art it is possible to describe a period or a generation of artists as having been obsessed by a particular problem." - Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

"Beauty is the product of the dominant ideology. (Thus when ideology changes, the ideal body follows.) We can see that in the history of art." - Orlan

"The aim of art is almost divine: to bring to life again if it is writing history, to create if it is writing poetry." - Victor Hugo

"Great food, like all art, enhances and reflects a community's vitality, growth and solidarity. Yet history bears witness that great cuisines spring only from healthy local agriculture." - Rick Bayless

"The general history of art and literature shows that the highest achievements of the human mind are, as a rule, not favourably received at first." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"I do believe abstraction is and was meant to embody deep emotion. I believe that's its job, in the history of art." - Sean Scully

"Jed Perl writes precisely and ecstatically. Antoine' s Alphabet is a history and a fairy tale, a work of criticism, and a work of art." - Jonathan Safran Foer

"Heraldry is the fusion of fact and fancy, myth and manner, romance and reality. It is an exuberant union of family, art, and history." - Charles Burnett

"Photography has the capacity to provide images of man and his environment that are both works of art and moments in history." - Cornell Capa

"The heart with letters on it shining like a light bulb through the trim hole painted in the chest, art history." - Margaret Atwood

"My greatest aim has been to advance the art of photography and to make it what I think I have, a great and truthful medium of history." - Mathew Brady

"Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little." - Banksy

"True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character." - David O Mckay

"When men die, they enter history. When statues die, they enter art. This botany of death is what we call culture." - Chris Marker

"Great food, like all art, enhances and reflects a community's vitality, growth and solidarity. Yet history bears witness that great cuisines spring only from healthy local agriculture." - Rick Bayless

"As far as I can see, the history of experimental art in the twentieth century is intimately bound up with the experience of intoxification." - Will Self

"This is a new phase in history where art, science, business and spirit will join together in the pursuit of true wealth." - James Altucher

"I have a long history with Soho: even when I was at art college, I came down to Soho to work in the summer." - Marc Almond

"I am inspired by music, travel, great architecture, and good, healthy food. I look for opportunities to learn about history, art, and cooking. When I learn, I grow." - Tim Matheson

"I wanted to go into art history. Acting fell into my lap when a neighbor took pictures of me and showed them to an agent." - Eva Mendes

"Sedgwick has managed to convert pedestrian critical skills and little discernible knowledge in history, philosophy, psychology, art or even pre-modern literature into a lucrative academic career." - Camille Paglia

"As the spiral of modern art history continues to wind down, we can see the increasing demand for tradition in the visual arts." - Igor Babailov

"There have been countless changes in the long history of art. The most significant have been brought about by the genius of a single artist." - Thomas Hoving

"The Metropolitan Museum has all of our collections online, all our scholarly publications and catalogues since 1965. We have online features like the timeline of art history." - Thomas P Campbell

"I have always said to young artists that scholastic training and the studying of art history are crucial to fully developing as an artist." - Leroy Neiman

"All good criticism should be judged the way art is. You shouldn't read it the way you read history or science." - Leslie Fiedler

"Throughout history, self-styled arbiters have taken it upon themselves to decide the question of what can or cannot be the legitimate purview of art." - Barbara Goldsmith

"I was an art history major, but never specifically contemporary. I would say where I really stopped were the abstract expressionists in the New York school." - Vera Wang

"Art has this ability to allow you to connect back through history in the same way that biology does. I'm always looking for source material." - Jeff Koons

"I think I went to Italy initially for the art, architecture, food and history, but I stayed there because of the people in Cortona." - Frances Mayes

"Great food, like all art, enhances and reflects a community's vitality, growth and solidarity. Yet history bears witness that great cuisines spring only from healthy local agriculture." - Rick Bayless

"Every school boy and school girl who has arrived at the age of reflection ought to know something about the history of the art of printing." - Horace Mann

"You might argue that the history of contemporary art is a series of avant-garde movements, each new wave outraging the last." - Michael Scott

"Under ordinary circumstances, bad art naturally gets sorted out and disappears. That is how history works when it is left alone to do its job." - Michael Kimmelman

"We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. Our obligation is to make money." - Don Simpson

"I love history. I love art. I like to mix it all together, but in the end it somehow has to all make sense." - Anna Sui

"I wrote 'The Painted Word,' about modern art, and was denounced as reactionary. In fact, it is just a history, although a rather loaded one." - Tom Wolfe

"Maybe philosophy - I love talking about ideas. Or maybe art history. I was thinking about psychology, then I got really afraid because everybody says it's terribly boring." - Claire Danes

"How do you make any sense of history, art or literature without knowing the stories and iconography of your own culture and all the world's main religions?" - Polly Toynbee

"I was, like, a history major, and I minored in art and Spanish, but I found myself gravitating toward media studies as time went on." - Nick Kroll

"Art, at least, teaches us that man cannot be explained by history alone and that he also finds a reason for his existence in the order of nature." - Albert Camus

"The whole history of modern poetry is a continuous commentary on the short text of philosophy: every art should become science, and every science should become art; poetry and philosophy should be united." - Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

"We have come to think of art and work as incompatible, or at least independent categories and have for the first time in history created an industry without art." - Ananda Coomaraswamy

"I didn't go to art school. So, I never had this moment of taking time to actually learn how to make things and learn about art history and learn about people that came before me." - Agathe Snow

"The romance of the old West vanished so fast and so few ever did anything with it. Does it make you realize the importance of Art and how the main knowledge of history is through Art alone?" - Laura Gilpin

"The contest between form and content is what, is what art is about - it's art history. That's what basically everybody has ever contended with. The problem is uniquely complex in still photography." - Garry Winogrand

"You have a history of art-music that you equate with music. That's what I love about that term art-music. It separates itself from music-music, the music people have always made." - Frank Fairfield

"Art and politics must move closer together. Reflection and action must be equally valid in good men if history is not to take one course and art an other." - William Saroyan

"I don't know the history of art, but I got over intimidation from the art world when I realized that I was allowed to feel whatever I want and like whatever I want." - Marc Jacobs

"In ceasing to subordinate creative power to any supreme value, modern art has brought home to us the presence of that creative power throughout the whole history of art." - Andre Malraux

"Abstract art as it is conceived at present is a game bequeathed to painting and sculpture by art history. One who accepts its premises must consent to limit his imagination to a depressing casuistry regarding the formal requirements of modernism." - Harold Rosenberg

"I think whatever art form you're in, whether TV, film or theater, you should know the history of who came before you and how the art form has changed or not changed and to learn from the greats." - Kevin Chamberlin

"Because I'm an art historian, I have some experience of writing that comes out of close attention. That's what really art history is. You're looking at something very closely, and you try to write in a meticulous way about it." - Teju Cole

"I always try to have a book on hand, traveling is an excellent way of providing perspective, and studying Art History has made going to art museums way more fun than you can imagine." - Gideon Glick

"The pernicious influence of the prize and medal giving in art is so great that it should be stopped. History proves that juries in art have been generally wrong." - Robert Henri

"It's very true that an artist who networks well will have better opportunities than one who doesn't network well. But great networking skills without great art won't change art history." - Mark Kostabi

"I think that narrative, fiction filmmaking is the culmination of several art forms: theater, art history, architecture. Whereas doc filmmaking is more pure cinema, like cinema verite is film in its purest form." - George Hickenlooper

"History is history." - Troy Vincent



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