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Sir Joshua Reynolds Quotes



Quotes by Sir Joshua Reynolds - (54 quotes)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Ambition category:

One inconvenience... may attend bold and arduous attempts: frequent failure may discourage. This evil, however, is not more pernicious than the slow proficiency which is the natural consequence of too easy tasks. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Colour category:

The distinct blue, red, and yellow colors... though they have not the kind of harmony which is produced by a variety of broken and transparent colors, have the effect of grandeur. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Colour category:

Perhaps blue, red, and yellow strike the mind more forcibly from there not being any great union between them, as martial music, which is intended to rouse the nobler passions... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Contemplation category:

I can recommend nothing better... than that you endeavor to infuse into your works what you learn from the contemplation of the works of others. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Copying category:

The great use of copying, if it be at all useful, should seem to be in learning color; yet even coloring will never be perfectly attained by servilely copying the model before you. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Copying category:

A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Copying category:

No art can be grafted with success on another art. For though they all profess the same origin, and to proceed from the same stock, yet each has its own peculiar modes both of imitating nature and of deviating from it... The deviation, more especially, will not bear transplantation to another soil. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Deception category:

If deceiving the eye were the only business of the art... the minute painter would be more apt to succeed. But it is not the eye, it is the mind which the painter of genius desires to address. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Drawing category:

Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Education category:

Our studies will be forever, in a very great degree, under the direction of chance; like travelers, we must take what we can get, and when we can get it – whether it is or is not administered to us in the most commodious manner, in the most proper place, or at the exact minute when we would wish to have it. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Emotion category:

The true test of all the arts is not solely whether the production is a true copy of nature, but whether it answers the end of art, which is to produce a pleasing effect upon the mind. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Excellence category:

While I recommend studying the art from artists, Nature is and must be the fountain which alone is inexhaustible, and from which all excellences must originally flow. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Exhaustion category:

The mind is but a barren soil – a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Exhibitions category:

Our Exhibitions [The Royal Academy] have... a mischievous tendency, by seducing the Painter to an ambition of pleasing indiscriminately the mixed multitude of people who resort to them. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Expectation category:

From a slight, undetermined drawing, where the ideas of the composition and character are just touched upon, the imagination supplies more than the painter himself, probably, could produce. And we accordingly often find that the finished work disappoints the expectation that was raised from the sketch... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Expression category:

Style in painting is the same as in writing – a power over materials, whether words or colours, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Fashion category:

You are never to lose sight of nature; the instant you do, you are all abroad, at the mercy of every gust of fashion, without knowing or seeing the point to which you ought to steer. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Finishing category:

However minutely labored the picture may be in the detail, the whole will have a false and even an unfinished appearance, at whatever distance, or in whatever light it can be shown. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Genius category:

The painter of genius will not waste a moment upon those smaller objects which only serve to catch the sense, to divide the attention, and to counteract his great design of speaking to the heart. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Imitation category:

He who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own, will be soon reduced, from mere barrenness, to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to imitate himself, and to repeat what he has before often repeated. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Imitation category:

By close inspection... you will discover the manner of handling the artifices of contrast, glazing, and other expedients, by which good colorists have raised the value of their tints, and by which nature has been so happily imitated. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Impossibilities category:

It is impossible that anything will be well understood or well done that is taken into a reluctant understanding, and executed with a servile hand. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Influence category:

Every art, like our own, has in its composition fluctuating as well as fixed principles. It is an attentive inquiry into their difference that will enable us to determine how far we are influenced by custom and habit, and what is fixed in the nature of things. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Intimacy category:

It is not uncommon to meet artists who, from a long neglect of cultivating the necessary intimacy with nature, do not even know her when they see her – she appearing a stranger to them, from their being so long habituated to their own representation of her. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Invention category:

Nothing comes from nothing – invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Masters category:

Raphael and Titian seem to have looked at Nature for different purposes; they both had the power of extending their view to the whole; but one looked only for the general effect as produced by form, the other as produced by colour. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Masters category:

It is to Titian we must turn our eyes to find excellence with regard to color, and light and shade, in the highest degree. He was both the first and the greatest master of this art. By a few strokes he knew how to mark the general image and character of whatever object he attempted... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Materials category:

It is vain for painters... to endeavour to invent without materials on which the mind may work. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Materials category:

There can be no doubt but that he who has the most materials has the greatest means of invention... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Memory category:

Let me recommend to you not to have too great dependence on your practice or memory, however strong those impressions may have been which are there deposited. They are forever wearing out, and will be at least obliterated, unless they are continually refreshed and repaired. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Methodology category:

A passion for his art, and an eager desire to excel, will more than supply an artist with the place of method. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Models category:

The art of seeing nature, or, in other words, the art of using models, is in reality the great object, the point to which all our studies are directed. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Music category:

Martial music has sudden and strongly marked transitions from one note to another which that style of music requires; while in that which is intended to move the softer passions, the notes imperceptibly melt into one another. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Nature category:

I have heard painters acknowledge, though in that acknowledgment no degradation of themselves was intended, that they could do better without nature than with her; or as they express themselves, 'that it only put them out.' (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Nature category:

A painter must not only be of necessity an imitator of the works of nature... but he must be as necessarily an imitator of the works of other painters. This appears more humiliating, but is equally true; and no man can be an artist, whatever he may suppose, upon any other terms. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Observation category:

An eye critically nice can only be formed by observing well-colored pictures with attention. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Painting category:

The general ideas which are expressed in sketches, correspond very well to the art often used in poetry... every reader making out the detail according to his own particular imagination... but a painter, when he represents Eve on canvas, is obliged to give a determined form, and his own idea of beauty distinctly expressed. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Painting category:

A painter must compensate the natural deficiencies of his art. He has but one sentence to utter, but one moment to exhibit. He cannot, like the poet or historian, expatiate, and impress the mind... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Perfection category:

Art in its perfection is not ostentatious; it lies hid and works its effect, itself unseen. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Pleasure category:

What has pleased and continues to please, is likely to please again; hence are derived the rules of art, and on this immovable foundation they must ever stand. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Practice category:

I do not see in what manner practice alone can be sufficient for the production of correct, excellent, and finished pictures. Works deserving this character never were produced, nor ever will arise, from memory alone... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Purpose category:

The great end of all arts is to make an impression on the imagination and the feeling. The imitation of nature frequently does this. Sometimes it fails and something else succeeds. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Rules category:

Could we teach taste and genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Rules category:

Though colour may appear at first a part of painting merely mechanical, yet it still has its rules, and those grounded upon that presiding principle which regulates both the great and the little in the study of a painter. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Simplicity category:

Certainly, nothing can be more simple than monotony. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Simplicity category:

Grandeur of effect is produced by two different ways which seem entirely opposed to each other. One is by reducing the colors to little more than chiaroscuro... and the other, by making the colors very distinct and forcible... but still, the presiding principle of both those manners is simplicity. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Spectator category:

The spectator, as he walks the gallery, will stop, or pass along. To give a general air of grandeur at first view, all trifling, or artful play of little lights, or an attention to a variety of tints is to be avoided; a quietness and simplicity must reign over the whole work, to which a breadth of uniform and simple color will very much contribute. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Success category:

I wish you to be persuaded that success in your art depends almost entirely on your own industry; but the industry which I principally recommend is not the industry of the hands, but of the mind. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Taste category:

An artist who brings to his work a mind tolerably furnished with the general principles of art, and a taste formed upon the works of good artists in short, who knows in what excellence consists – will, with the assistance of models... be an overmatch for the greatest painter that ever lived who should be debarred such advantages. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Teaching category:

By leaving a student to himself he may... be led to undertake matters above his strength, but the trial will at least have this advantage: it will discover to himself his own deficiencies and this discovery alone is a very considerable acquisition. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Thought category:

A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Travel category:

Whatever trips you make, you must still have nature in your eye... (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Words category:

-to students of the Royal Academy, 1790...
I should desire that the last words which I should pronounce in this Academy, and from this place, might be the name of - Michael Angelo. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Sir Joshua Reynolds - From the Work category:

In the practice of art... it is necessary to keep a watchful and jealous eye over ourselves; idleness, assuming the specious disguise of industry... may be employed to evade and shuffle off real labor - the real labor of thinking. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)