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Art Quotes on Silence


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213 art quotes about Silence found | Share this page of quotes about Silence on Facebook

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. (Ansel Adams)

Silence alone is respectable and respected. I believe God to be silence. (Henry Brooks Adams)

Since long I've held silence a remedy for harm. (Aeschylus)

The things that really matter don't mix with idle chatter. (Mose Allison)

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. (Hans Jean Arp)

When I walk into a gallery now, I don't see anything. It's as if the artists spent all their time trying to find ways how not to do anything. Just because you don't do anything, doesn't mean you've said something. And, as Harold Rosenberg once pointed out, just because you don't say something doesn't mean it's true. (Dore Ashton)

There are some virtues to not saying what you think all the time. (Margaret Atwood)

External silence helps to achieve inner silence. (Meher Baba)

Before you speak, think - Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence? (Sri Sathya Sai Baba)

You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind. (Sri Sathya Sai Baba)

Silence is the only language of the realized. Practice moderation in speech. (Sri Sathya Sai Baba)

A pause in speech is silence. Silence is one of the most profound ways to connect with your inner voice, with nature. Silence is the best part of speech. (Leo Babauta)

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom. (Sir Francis Bacon)

Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. (Samuel Beckett)

-Molloy, 1951...
To restore silence is the role of objects. (Samuel Beckett)

Silence, yes, but what silence! For it is all very fine to keep silence, but one has also to consider the kind of silence one keeps. (Samuel Beckett)

The stronger and more intense my desire becomes to capture and record that which is unsayable, the more tightly my mouth stays shut... (Max Beckmann)

Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act. (Annie Besant)

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. (Josh Billings)

Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent. (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Silences have a climax, when you have got to speak. (Elizabeth Bowen)

The human heart has hidden treasures, / In secret kept, in silence sealed; / The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, / Whose charms were broken if revealed. (Charlotte Bronte)

A man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words. (Phillips Brooks)

Now we live in the noisiest era ever. There never was a time when we needed silence and quiet and calm more. But we worship speed for its own sake, and sheer sound for its own sake, and power for its own sake. (Harold Brown)

When you have nothing important or interesting to say, don't let anyone persuade you to say it. (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

Into our deep, dear silence. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

There are times when silence has the loudest voice. (Leroy Brownlow)

Modern man has lost the option of silence. (William S. Burroughs)

Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing. (William S. Burroughs)

It is tact that is golden, not silence. (Samuel Butler, novelist)

There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot. (John Cage)

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. (George Carlin)

Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time. (Thomas Carlyle)

So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born. (Emily Carr)

A closed mouth catches no flies. (Miguel de Cervantes)

The visual image created should speak for itself. (Trevor Chamberlain)

Inner silence promotes clarity of mind. It makes us value the inner world. It trains us to go inside to the source of peace and inspiration when we are faced with problems and challenges. (Deepak Chopra)

Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent. (Winston Churchill)

Their very silence is a loud cry. (Cicero)

How many are silenced, because in order to get to their art they would have to scream? (Ann Clark)

Keep braiding one's wavelengths back into oneself. That way they gain all the more external power and surround us with a huge affective and protective zone. Don't talk about this. Never talk about our secret methods. If we talk about them, they stop working. (Jean Cocteau)

No voice; but oh! the silence sank / Like music on my heart. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one. (Sidonie Gabrielle Colette)

If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it. (Calvin Coolidge)

We're fascinated by the words - but where we meet is in the silence behind them. (Ram Dass)

If we quiet our minds, we can hear the truth discerned by the heart. (Jan Denise)

Saying nothing... sometimes says the most. (Emily Dickinson)

When little is done, little is said; silence is the mother of truth. (Benjamin Disraeli)

For God's sake hold your tongue and let me love. (John Donne)

But far more numerous was the herd of such, / Who think too little, and who talk too much. (John Dryden)

Me and my big mouth! I'd get rid of it, only it's such a handy place to keep my teeth. (Jimmy Durante)

Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words; be as one that knoweth and yet holdeth his tongue. (Ecclesiasticus)

In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity. (Meister Johann Eckhart)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. (Max Ehrmann)

As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue. (Albert Einstein)

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact. (George Eliot)

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined - to strengthen each other - to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories. (George Eliot)

This love is silent. (T. S. Eliot)

Where shall the word be found, where will the word / Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence. (T. S. Eliot)

Real action is in silent moments. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It was enough just to sit there without words. (Louise Erdrich)

Shut up, sit in that chair there and go into a deep trance! (Milton H. Erickson)

Silence is true wisdom's best reply. (Euripides)

He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore. (Sigmund Freud)

-to his students...
Never discuss the poem you contemplate writing. It's like turning on the outside spigot. It takes all the pressure off the upstairs bathroom. (Robert Frost)

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Silence! I am learning to know the silence of a Tahitian night. (Paul Gauguin)

Silent guns have virtue. (Robert Genn)

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. (Kahlil Gibran)

Which of you would be silent – when all else sings together in unison? (Kahlil Gibran)

- La Nouvelle Vague...
Why must one talk? Often one shouldn't talk, but live in silence. The more one talks, the less the words mean. (Jean-Luc Godard)

Create, artist, do not talk. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

There is one crucial rule that must be followed in all creative meetings: Never speak first. At least at the start, your job is to shut up. (William Goldman)

Silence is become his mother tongue. (Oliver Goldsmith)

So it always is: when you escape to a desert the silence shouts in your ear. (Henry Graham Greene)

Although your knowledge is weak and small, you need not be silent: since you cannot be judges, be at least witnesses. (Franz Grillparzer)

If you talk about doing a thing, well meaning people will tell you all the sound reasons why you're wrong and probably should not do it. (Joel Haas)

It was said that in the company of Degas even James McNeill Whistler's conversation was reduced to 'brilliant flashes of silence.' (Helen Hale)

You will find that silence or very gentle words are the most exquisite revenge for insult. (Judge Hall)

Thoughts left unsaid are never wasted. (Henry S. Haskins)

The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing. (Henry S. Haskins)

Well-timed silence is the most commanding expression. (Mark Helprin)

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. (Ernest Hemingway)

Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet, give themselves the benefit of the doubt and remain silent. (Napoleon Hill)

I like to think that I'm giving a voice to the silenced... (Selima Hill)

I never talk when I'm drawing a person, especially if I'm making line drawings. I prefer there to be no noise at all so I can concentrate more. (David Hockney)

Shut up and paint. (David Hockney)

You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion. (Sherlock Holmes)

I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence. (Thomas Hood)

It is in the sanctuary and the silence it provides that the bells of creativity can ring clearly. (Mark Hope)

Usually the modest person passes for someone reserved, the silent for a sullen person. (Horace)

Many people would be more truthful were it not for their uncontrollable desire to talk. (Edgar Watson Howe)

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. (Aldous Huxley)

Silence is as full of potential wisdom and wit as the unhewn marble of great sculpture. (Aldous Huxley)

Summer night - / even the stars / are whispering to each other. (Kobayashi Issa)

You do not go to the desert to find identity, but to lose it, to lose your personality, to be anonymous. You make yourself void. You become silence. You become more silent than the silence around you. And then something extraordinary happens: you hear silence speak. (Edmond Jabes)

There are wonderful moments, those rare moments when there is silence, a tangible silence out there, a silence deeper than silence. (Derek Jacobi)

We do not say anything about future products. We work on them in secret, then we announce them. (Steve Jobs)

My mother told me never explain, never complain. Even as a young actress, I determined I would never give personal interviews, since they made me so uncomfortable. (Jennifer Jones)

It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. (Franz Kafka)

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt. (Henry J. Kaiser)

Artist statements are non-productive. My statement is in the work. If I wanted to 'talk' about it, I would be a writer. (Cassidy Kanor)

I've nothing to say. (Anish Kapoor)

Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself, and wait for the answer in silence. (Byron Katie)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

One of the greatest sounds of them all – and to me it is a sound – is utter, complete silence. (Andre Kostelanetz)

Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence. (John Lahr)

Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent. (Dalai Lama)

In the Arctic the silence screams at you. (Diane Langlois)

I work the best when my husband is in the same room with me. We work well in each other's presence, where we don't speak too much. (Patty LeBon-Herb)

To hear, one must be silent. (Ursula K. LeGuin)

A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

Every man whose business it is to think knows that he must for part of the day create about himself a pool of silence. (Walter Lippmann)

The holiest of all holidays are those / Kept by ourselves in silence and apart... (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak. (Audre Lorde)

Painting is a means of saying something about one's self in a beautiful or powerful way that people would like to see, but not hear. (David Louis)

Blessed are they who have nothing to say, and who cannot be persuaded to say it. (James Russell Lowell)

There are very few people who don't become more interesting when they stop talking. (Mary Lowry)

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves. (Maurice Maeterlinck)

It's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension. (Norman Mailer)

Darkness... Silence wakes me up. (Ashgan Makarem)

One cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has nothing to say. (Andre Malraux)

Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his tongue. (Henri Matisse)

Speech is the small change of silence. (George Meredith)

- Phenomenology of Perception, 1945...
Our view of man will remain superficial so long as we fail to go back to that origin, so long as we fail to find, beneath the chatter of words, the primordial silence, and as long as we do not describe the action which breaks this silence. The spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world. (Maurice Merleau-Ponty)

One might say I have decided to marry the silence of the forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife. (Thomas Merton)

When we were attacked and even vilified in the newspapers we could always comfort ourselves with the thought that it was all a measure of our worth since no one would have bothered about us if that weren't the case. So how should this silence be interpreted? (Claude Monet)

There is a powerful kind of silence that engages my consciousness during my most centered and productive moments. This inner space has a quality of active, very alive, utter stillness. It is where I hear the voice of my creative muse most clearly. (Leslie Montana)

-Anne of Windy Poplars...
Have you ever noticed how many silences there are... The silence of the woods... of the shore... of the meadows... of the night... of the summer afternoon. All different because the undertones that thread them are different. (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Keeping quiet means being without any techniques, effort or intention to meditate... not following the thought stream... (Mooji)

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. (John Muir)

All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn. (Iris Murdoch)

The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind. (Caroline Myss)

I hope my tongue in prune juice smothers, / If I belittle dogs and mothers. (Ogden Nash)

Of those who say nothing, few are silent. (Thomas Neil)

The author should shut his mouth when his work begins to speak. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. (Henri Nouwen)

One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets... lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people. (John O'Donohue)

What are the fruits of silence? They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character. (Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux)

Painters ought to be mute. Speech is the enemy of expression. (Ben Okri)

I wish you'd stop yelling, I can't hear myself shout. (John James Osborne)

All that you need is just to be silent and listen to existence. (Osho)

True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. (William Penn)

-on nature sketching...
His silence and his comparative immobility, the result of complete absorption in his work, encourage all the wild things to show themselves. (Walter J. Phillips)

I don't say everything, but I paint everything. (Pablo Picasso)

Often silence is the wisest thing for a man to heed. (Pindar)

Your silence gives consent. (Plato)

It is well for one to know more than he says. (Plautus)

The professional shuts up. She doesn't talk about it. She does her work. (Steven Pressfield)

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (proverb)

'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt. (English proverb)

Learn silence. With the quiet serenity of a meditative mind, listen, absorb, transcribe, and transform. (Pythagoras)

The principles of my works... are the extinction of expression, permanent covering and contemplative tranquillity... My ideal is the completely dark picture, full of some overwhelming silence. (Arnulf Rainer)

The moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Silence is the best tactic for he who distrusts himself. (Francois de La Rochefoucauld)

Never miss a good chance to shut up. (Will Rogers)

The more you know the less you need to say. (Jim Rohn)

Silence is more musical than any song. (Christina Rossetti)

Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing. (Philip Roth)

Silence is so accurate. (Mark Rothko)

The landscapist lives in silence. (Henri Rousseau)

The truth is silent. The truth doesn't come with words. It's something that I just know; it's something that I can feel without words, and it's called silent knowledge. (Don Miguel Ruiz)

Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation. (Rumi)

Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts. (Margaret Lee Runbeck)

It is one's restraint that is honorable to a person, not one's liberty. (John Ruskin)

Nothing is so good for an ignorant man as silence; and if he was sensible of this he would not be ignorant. (Sa'di)

Tell no man anything, for no man listens / Yet hold thy lips ready to speak. (Carl Sandburg)

Never talk away the magic. (Danish saying)

Great souls endure in silence. (Johann Friedrich von Schiller)

The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides. (Artur Schnabel)

The silence that bludgeons you dumb. (Robert W. Service)

Harp not on that string. (William Shakespeare)

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice. (William Shakespeare)

Have more than thou showest, / Speak less than thou knowest. (William Shakespeare)

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy if I could say how much. (William Shakespeare)

Never explain what you do. It speaks for itself. You only muddle it by talking about it. (Shel Silverstein)

The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak. (Baruch Spinoza)

You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say. (William Stafford)

One of the best things about paintings is their silence – which prompts reflection and random reverie. (Mark Stevens)

A painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music, and you provide the silence. (Leopold Stokowski)

In not only the physical silence, but in the real mental silence, the wisdom dawns. (Yoga Sutras)

There's a lot to be said for the fellow who doesn't say it himself. (Maurice Switzer)

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence. (Publilius Syrus)

I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent. (Publilius Syrus)

We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly... spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order. (Susan Taylor)

Silence is the unbearable repartee. (Alexander Theroux)

Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment... (Henry David Thoreau)

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech. (Martin Farquhar Tupper)

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. (Desmond Tutu)

Winter... that feeling of quiet and all nature is hushed to silence. (John H. Twachtman)

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause. (Mark Twain)

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid. (Mark Twain)

Remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot. (Frank Tyger)

There is no evidence that the tongue is connected to the brain. (Frank Tyger)

A thought once uttered is untrue. / Dimmed is the fountainhead when stirred: / drink at the source and speak no word. (Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev)

He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know. (Lao Tzu)

Silence is a source of great strength. (Lao Tzu)

Within you lies the simple silence. Be quiet and listen... (Author unknown)

Inspiration only comes if there is contemplation and prayer... we must look for those silent moments, because only in this way can art be truly appreciated. (Claudio Urzua Vial)

The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs. (Voltaire)

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say. (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

Free speech includes the right to not speak. (Jimmy Wales)

Silence may be as variously shaded as speech. (Edith Wharton)

Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom. (David Whyte)

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. (Elie Wiesel)

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream / His mind moves upon silence. (William Butler Yeats)

Remain quiet. Don't feel you have to talk all the time. Go within and you will see the Loveliness behind all beauty. (Paramahansa Yogananda)

This is not the inert silence of a stone, but creative silence. We have to find it for ourselves. We decrease activity until silence becomes creative, and we sit in creative silence and close the gates of perception for insight into the content of life. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)

Shut Up and Play your Guitar. (Frank Zappa)

Silence can be exquisite. It sharpens the senses and touches upon the perfect arrangement of that thing most ordinary. (Jan Zawadzki)


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Last modified: April 24, 2014