Ernst H. Gombrich Quotes

“There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists.”

“All artistic discoveries are discoveries not of likenesses but of equivalencies which enable us to see reality in terms of an image and an image in terms of reality.”

“One cannot explain the existence of genius.  It is better to enjoy it.”

“Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there.”

“It took some time before the public learned that to appreciate an Impressionist painting one has to step back a few yards, and enjoy the miracle of seeing these puzzling patches suddenly fall into one place and come to life before our eyes. “

The photographic enthusiast likes to lure us into a darkened room in order to display his slides on a silver screen. Aided by the adaptability of the eye and by the borrowed light from the intense projector bulb, he can achieve those relationships in brightness that will make us dutifully admire the wonderful autumn tints he photographed on his latest trip. As soon as we look at a print of these photographs by day, the light seems to go out of them. It is one of the miracles of art that the same does not happen there.”

“The painter must leave the beholder something to guess.” (e.g. Painting)

“If you ask me what the world looks like to me, it looks like a painting by Pissarro.” (e.g. perception)

“All the old bogeys of ‘dignified subject-matter,’ of ‘balanced compositions,’ of ‘correct drawing’ were laid to rest. The artist was responsible to no one but his own sensibilities for what he painted and how he painted it.” (e.g., responsibility)

“Seeing depends on knowledge / And knowledge, of course, on your college / But when you are erudite and wise / What matters is to use your eyes.” (e.g., seeing)

“The paintings in our galleries are seen one day in bright sunshine and another day in the dim light of a rainy afternoon, yet they remain the same paintings, ever faithful, ever convincing. To a marvelous extent they carry their own light within. For their truth is not that of a perfect replica, it is the truth of art.”  (e.g., truth)

“What an artist worries about when he plans his pictures, is something… difficult to put into words. Perhaps he would say he worries about whether he has got it ‘right.’ Now it is only when we understand what he means by this modest little word ‘right’ that we begin to understand what artists are really after.”  (e.g., worry)

 

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