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Art Quotes on Criticism


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321 art quotes about Criticism found | Share this page of quotes about Criticism on Facebook

There is no defense against criticism except obscurity. (Joseph Addison)

A thick skin is a gift from God. (Konrad Adenauer)

Culture is only true when implicitly critical, and the mind which forgets this revenges itself in the critics it breeds. Criticism is an indispensable element of culture. (Theodor W. Adorno)

If criticism had any power to harm, the skunk would be extinct by now. (Fred Allen)

The man who cannot endure to have his errors and shortcomings brought to the surface and made known, but tries to hide them, is unfit to walk the highway of truth. (James Allen)

I don't take compliments so well. I always hang my head and shuffle and kind of try to immediately forget. (Laurie Anderson)

Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it. If it is unfair, keep from irritation. It if is ignorant, smile. If it is justified, learn from it. (Anonymous)

I got a simple rule about everybody. If you don't treat me right – shame on you! (Louis Armstrong)

I am bound by my own definition of criticism: a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world. (Matthew Arnold)

Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise. (Mary Kay Ash)

From my close observation of writers... they fall into two groups: those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review. (Isaac Asimov)

It's better to say, 'I'm suffering,' than to say, 'This landscape is ugly.' (W. H. Auden)

Criticism should be a casual conversation. (W. H. Auden)

Remember that all is opinion. (Marcus Aurelius)

Some artists keep three feet of personal space between themselves and constructive criticism. (J.R. Baldini)

-attributed...
There is less in this than meets the eye. (Tallulah Bankhead)

Most art is just surface noise. (Darby Bannard)

I've gotten a lot of livid letters about the awfulness of my work. I've never known what to make of it. Why do people bother to write if they hate what I do? (Lynda Barry)

It is from the womb of art that criticism was born. (Charles Baudelaire)

I have been told by hospital authorities that more copies of my works are left behind by departing patients than those of any other author. (Robert Benchley)

I'm so self-critical it's difficult to think what to do. (Paul Beresford)

It is so hard to tell people to their face they should take up accounting or knitting instead of painting. Maybe the right thing to say is, 'How about taking classes?' (Denise Bezanson)

To my eye Rubens' colouring is most contemptible. His shadows are a filthy brown somewhat the colour of excrement. (William Blake)

Feedback is the breakfast of champions. (Kenneth Blanchard)

The only crit an artist needs is praise. (Joseph P. Blodgett)

-on Post-Impressionist works...
These are not works of art at all, unless throwing a handful of mud against a wall may be called one. They are works of idleness and impotent stupidity, a pornographic show. (Wilfrid Scawen Blunt)

Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. (Napoleon Bonaparte)

I hear all comments and criticisms around me. I chew on them. I'm nourished by the ones that I decide work for me and spit out the others. (Kelly Borsheim)

Emile Zola, a reporter on L'Evenement, not only had his favourable criticisms torn and thrown in his face on the street, but actually lost his job because he dared to defend them [the Impressionists]. (Richard J. Boyle)

If an artist has talent, he needs no other critic. (Robert Brault)

Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie. (Robert Brault)

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. (David Brinkley)

To many people, dramatic criticism must seem like an attempt to tattoo soap bubbles. (John Mason Brown)

Louis Siegriest looked at one of his son's (Lundy) paintings and said, 'That is one of the worst paintings I have ever seen!' Lundy, in his own defense said, 'You are half blind! What are you talking about?' Louis Sigriest said, 'I may be blind, but that is one of the worst paintings I have ever seen!' (Peter William Brown)

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

The pleasure of criticizing robs us of the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things. (Jean de La Bruyere)

I worship the quicksand he walks in. (Art Buchwald)

A good friend who points out mistakes and imperfections and rebukes evil is to be respected as if he reveals a secret of hidden treasure. (Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha)

People praise us behind our backs, but we hear them not; few before our faces, and who is not suspicious of the truth of such praise? (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton)

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver. (Edmund Burke)

It's much worse to read criticism about your son than yourself. (George H.W. Bush)

No one likes to be criticized. (Laura Bush)

-b.1835 d.1902...
Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it, you are lost. (Samuel Butler, novelist)

The rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon. (Charles Buxton)

In art, rebellion is consummated and perpetuated in the act of real creation, not in criticism or commentary. (Albert Camus)

I don't care what anybody says about me as long as it isn't true. (Truman Capote)

-on the Impressionists...
...grotesquely confused... The scribblings of a child have a naivety, a sincerity which make one smile, but the excesses of this school sicken or disgust. (Emile Cardon)

When we criticise another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical. (Richard Carlson)

By a small sample we may judge of the whole piece. (Miguel de Cervantes)

The artist must scorn all judgment that is not based on an intelligent observation of character. He must beware of the literary spirit which so often causes a painting to deviate from its true path – the concrete study of nature – to lose itself all too long in intangible speculations. (Paul Cezanne)

No one so thoroughly appreciates the value of constructive criticism as the one who's giving it. (Hal Chadwick)

What a genius, that Picasso. It is a pity he doesn't paint. (Marc Chagall)

When I started to sing like myself - as opposed to imitating Nat Cole, which I had done for a while - when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it. (Ray Charles)

When he said we were trying to make a fool of him, I could only murmur that the Creator had beat us to it. (Ilka Chase)

The guilty think all talk is of themselves. (Geoffrey Chaucer)

An artist must pass judgment only on what he understands; his range is limited as that of any other specialist... Anyone who says that the artist's field is all answers and no questions has neither. (Anton Chekhov)

A great deal of contemporary criticism reads to me like a man saying, 'Of course I do not like green cheese. I am very fond of brown sherry.' (G. K. Chesterton)

You shouldn't have to justify your work. (Judy Chicago)

Slander is worse than cannibalism. (Saint John Chrysostom)

I do not at all resent criticism, even when, for the sake of emphasis, it for a time parts company with reality. (Winston Churchill)

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. (Winston Churchill)

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. (Winston Churchill)

Degas is nothing but a peeping Tom, behind the coulisses; and among the dressing-rooms of the ballet dancers, noting only travesties of fallen debased womanhood, most disgusting and offensive. (The Churchman, 1886)

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots. (Frank A. Clark)

In praising Antony I have dispraised Caesar. (Cleopatra)

Look for a long time at what pleases you, and a longer time at what pains you. (Sidonie Gabrielle Colette)

One should never criticize his own work except in a fresh and hopeful mood. The self-criticism of a tired mind is suicide. (Charles Horton Cooley)

Listening to the Fifth Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes. (Aaron Copland)

What is worse than being a suffering artist? Being a successful one. Either way there is judgment. (Catherine Cote)

I love criticism just so long as it is unqualified praise. (Noel Coward)

Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book. (Malcolm Cowley)

-on Olympia by Edouard Manet...
Art sunk so low does not even deserve reproach. (Critic)

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)

Cold exactitude is not art... The so-called consciousness of the majority of painters is only perfection applied to the art of boring. People like that, if they could, would work with the same minute attention on the back of their canvas. (Eugene Delacroix)

Criticism is like many other things, it drags along after what has already been said and doesn't get out of its rut. (Eugene Delacroix)

Criticism is easy, art is difficult. (Destouches)

It is much easier to be critical than correct. (Benjamin Disraeli)

Nine-tenths of the existing books are nonsense and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. (Benjamin Disraeli)

The soul that is within me no man can degrade. (Frederick Douglas)

Criticism, as it was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant as a standard of judging well; the chiefest part of which is to observe those excellencies which delight a reasonable reader. (John Dryden)

Come mothers and fathers / Throughout the land / And don't criticize / What you don't understand. (Bob Dylan)

His ignorance is encyclopedic. (Abba Eban)

Better to be criticized by a wise man than praised by a fool. (Ecclesiastes)

Forbid that I should judge others, lest I condemn myself. (Max Ehrmann)

Love is when someone hurts you. And you get so mad but you don't yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings. (Eight-year-old)

-to Jacob Epstein, sculptor doing his bust after one hundred Nazi professors had condemned his theory of relativity in a book...
Were I wrong, one professor would have been enough. (Albert Einstein)

-b.AD 23 d.AD 79, Gaius Plinius Secundus...
It was also a practice with him, when he had completed a work, to exhibit it to the view of the passersby in his studio, while he himself, concealed behind the picture, would listen to the criticisms... (Pliny the Elder)

We might remind ourselves that criticism is as inevitable as breathing, and that we should be none the worse for articulating what passes in our minds when we read a book and feel an emotion about it, for criticizing our own minds in their work of criticism. (T. S. Eliot)

Perhaps art criticism cannot be reformed in a logical sense because it was never well-formed in the first place. Art criticism has long been a mongrel among academic pursuits, borrowing whatever it needed from other fields... (James Elkins)

The book written against fame and learning has the author's name on the title-page. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

-on criticism of his portrait of Kate Middleton, first official painting of the Duchess of Cambridge...
I'm developed as an artist to accept the fact there are different points of view, but I believe in what I do and I have to stay with that. (Paul Emsley)

Slight not what's near through aiming at what's far. (Euripides)

We may judge the artist, the work, but are we not really only judging ourselves? (Ian Factor)

Next to a sincere compliment, I think I like a well-deserved and honest rebuke. (William Feather)

People who avoid all criticism fail. It's destructive criticism we need to avoid, not criticism in all forms. (Timothy Ferriss)

-Oral history interview, 1965...
I think America produces a lot of people that just aren't artists. They're soft. They work too often in a half-assed way and there's nothing strong that comes out. (James Fitzgerald)

It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper. (Errol Flynn)

Think before you speak is criticism's motto; speak before you think, creation's. (E. M. Forster)

Clean your finger before you point at my spots. (Benjamin Franklin)

It's a sign of your own worth sometimes if you are hated by the right people. (Miles Franklin)

Honest feedback from someone you trust is so important for the artist who truly wants to grow... It is a hard job to give someone a sensitive but honest critique. (Nina Allen Freeman)

The use of criticism, in periodical writing, is to sift, not to stamp a work. (Margaret Fuller)

Raffael's drapery is the assistant of character, in Michelangelo it envelopes grandeur; it is in Reubens the ponderous robe of pomp. (Henry Fuseli)

-on the Group of Seven...
All their pictures look pretty much alike, the net result being more like a garble or gob of porridge than a work of art. (H. F. Gadsby)

I am somebody who does not, on the whole, have the highest regard for my own stuff, in that when I look, all I get to see are the flaws. (Neil Gaiman)

Criticism and art, like theology and religion, are basically companions but not always friends. At times they may be enemies. (John Champlin Gardner)

We artists stick ourselves out. This in itself deserves respect. (Robert Genn)

Artists should be aware that petty stroking could be the source of arrested productivity. An artist's job includes the avoidance of premature closure by the begged or gratuitous approval of others. (Robert Genn)

There is no prejudice that the work of art does not finally overcome. (Andre Gide)

People are drastically overconfident about their judgments of others. (Daniel T. Gilbert)

You've no idea what a poor opinion I have of myself – and how little I deserve it. (W. S. Gilbert)

We have as yet no socially based art criticism which can address the inherent irresponsibility of the work of art. (Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe)

Those who never sail stormy waters are the quickest and harshest judges of bad seamanship. (Susan Glaspell)

Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

-in a letter to Theo Van Gogh, Drenthe, 28 October 1883...
If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint... and that voice will be silenced, but only by working. (Vincent van Gogh)

Respond to others about your work with equanimity. (Josh Goldberg)

If I believed what they wrote, I'd have slit my wrists a long time ago. (William Goldman)

I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job. (Samuel Goldwyn)

-on Caravaggio...
He's still as ugly as ever. There are images of his that set you back on your feet. They flatten you like you haven't been flattened for awhile. I'm trying to say that he can't be totally appropriated because he says something about the nature of existence which we don't like to acknowledge. (Leon Golub)

-Wyndham Lewis Against Abstract Art...
To be categorically against a current art tendency or style means, in effect, to pronounce on works of art not yet created and not yet seen. It means inquiring into the motives of artists instead of into results. Yet we all know - or are supposed to know - that results are all that count in art. (Clement Greenberg)

Stay away from put-down artists. (Irwin Greenberg)

It is a barren kind of criticism which tells you what a thing is not. (Alfred Whitney Griswold)

I have read your book and much like it. (Moses Hadas)

We are much too quick to criticize that which we don't understand. (Hap Hagood)

None are as offended as those who contrive offense. (Kurt Hanks)

I used to get criticized for putting food in novels. (Jim Harrison)

The deadliest contagion is majority opinion. (Henry S. Haskins)

He only profits from praise who values criticism. (Heinrich Heine)

I've tried to reduce profanity but I reduced so much profanity when writing the book that I'm afraid not much could come out. Perhaps we will have to consider it simply as a profane book and hope that the next book will be less profane or perhaps more sacred. (Ernest Hemingway)

Pointed criticism, if accurate, often gives the artist an inner sense of relief. The criticism that damages is that which disparages, dismisses, ridicules, or condemns. (William Ernest Henley)

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. (Hermann Hesse)

Anybody who paints and sees a sky green and pastures blue ought to be sterilized. (Adolf Hitler)

Don't talk, Anderson. You lower the IQ of the entire street every time you open your mouth. (Sherlock Holmes)

-in a letter to his dealer on the painting Gulf Stream...
The criticisms... by old women and others are noted. You may inform these people that the Negro did not starve to death. He was not eaten by the sharks. The waterspout did not hit him. And he was rescued by a passing ship. (Winslow Homer)

Don't abuse your friends and expect them to consider it criticism. (Edgar Watson Howe)

The most destructive criticism is indifference. (Edgar Watson Howe)

To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. (Elbert Hubbard)

Of course, the media came out with such filth... Even my own friends ridiculed me, saying that Bollywood films are just trash. But I said, you just wait. (Maqbool Fida Husain)

When looking at faults, use a mirror, not a telescope. (Yazid Ibrahim)

It's probably hard for anyone looking at my landscapes today to realize that I was once regarded as a rebel, a dangerous influence; that I've been told I was on the verge of insanity, that my painting was nothing but meaningless daubs. Lawren Harris, the man most responsible for drawing the Group of Seven together, was accused of something perilously close to treason – his paintings, said his severest critics, were discouraging immigration. (A. Y. Jackson)

-on Winslow Homer...
He has chosen the least pictorial features of the least pictorial range of scenery and civilization; he has resolutely treated them as if they were pictorial, as if they were every inch as good as Capri or Tangiers; and, to reward his audacity, he has incontestably succeeded. (Henry James)

I did write a letter to the archdiocese who'd banned the song, Only the Good Die Young, asking them to ban my next record. (Billy Joel)

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still. (Samuel Johnson)

Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at a very small expense. (Samuel Johnson)

If you have enough people sitting around telling you you're wonderful, then you start believing you're fabulous, then someone tells you you stink and you believe that too! (Angelina Jolie)

I find it difficult to cope with any comments at all about my work – good or bad. It's all too up close and personal for comfort. It's like that old adage: only you are allowed to criticize your own family. (Charlotte Jones)

Anyone can negatively criticize - it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires. (Chuck Jones)

Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. (Franklin P. Jones)

From how I breathe, literally, to whether or not a piece of art is 'crap,' the kid will speak. (Julie Rodriguez Jones)

Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me, and I don't want to spend my life with someone who is always critical... It's high time that I accept all the great things about me. (C. Joybell C.)

-to her husband, James Joyce...
Why don't you write books people can read? (Nora Joyce)

-on Pablo Picasso...
A 'scream' is always just that - a noise and not music. (Carl Gustav Jung)

Ours is an age of criticism, to which everything must be subjected. (Immanuel Kant)

He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up. (Paul Keating)

If, to the viewer's eyes, my world appears less beautiful than his, I'm to be pitied and the viewer praised. (Rockwell Kent)

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses. (Johann Kepler)

He had delusions of adequacy. (Walter Kerr)

It is easy to criticize an age or a time... Harder still is the effort to make something so beautiful that it brings tears to the eyes and stops your heart. (Sharon Knettell)

When you finally find yourself it is a marvelous thing - no amount of criticism or rejection will mean anything. You can grin at negative evaluation of your work because only you know what you are trying to accomplish.... No one determines your success but you alone. (Jackie Knott)

I thought I would call myself a pig before the viewer could, so they could only think more of me. (Jeff Koons)

There are different ways of being rigorous, and I am asking people to be as rigorous in their pleasure as in their criticism. (Barbara Kruger)

To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. (Dalai Lama)

Before you criticize people, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away. And you have their shoes. (J. K. Lambert)

Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass. (Fran Lebowitz)

Aspiring to a souffle, he achieves a pancake at which the reader saws without much appetite. (John Leonard, critic)

-on Impression, Sunrise by Monet in first Impressionist exhibition...
A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more highly finished than this seascape. (Louis Leroy)

Don't let criticism get in the way of learning. Whatever negative comments a teacher or a college or even your family may make, consider them. Take it as an opportunity to see your work with a different perspective. (Dana Levin)

I have been called a Rogue Elephant, a Cannibal Shark, and a crocodile. I am none the worse. I remain a caged, and rather sardonic, lion, in a particularly contemptible and ill-run zoo. (Wyndham Lewis)

-when asked whether he minded being criticized...
I cried all the way to the bank. (Liberace)

If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference. (Abraham Lincoln)

Only the very rarest of princes can endure even a little criticism, and few of them can put up with even a pause in the adulation. (Walter Lippmann)

The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class. (Walter Lippmann)

It is all very well for people with fine arts degrees, but for ordinary people like myself, we want a statue to look like the person. (Ken Livingstone)

The strength of criticism lies in the weakness of the thing criticized. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

What do we expect from criticism? People appear to want it, but why? (Norbert Lynton)

Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind. (Hamilton Mabie)

If the weeds are pulled out of the garden too soon, the too shallow roots of the plants developing around it get pulled up with the weed also. Time is what is needed before criticism can be useful. (Alison Mackie)

-quoting her Drawing 101 teacher in students' critique...
Whata do thesea alla have ina common? Crap! They're all crap! (Mary Madsen)

You're there to be shot at, and that's part of it. (Norman Mailer)

In America all too few blows are struck into flesh. We kill the spirit here, we are experts at that. We use psychic bullets and kill each other cell by cell. (Norman Mailer)

Nothing someone says or does or does not say or do, no group, can hold me down unless I give my permission. (Mary Jean Mailloux)

Hurray for criticism, if it means that an artist's voice is heard. Let the wise artist invite criticism and survive it when it comes. (Eric Maisel)

-on Jan Vermeer...
Here, reality is not subordinated to painting, indeed painting seems the handmaid of reality, though we feel it tending towards a procedure which, while not at the mercy of appearances, is not yet in conflict with them. (Andre Malraux)

The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me... People don't realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted. (Edouard Manet)

Insults are pouring down on me as thick as hail. (Edouard Manet)

I didn't like the play. But I saw it under unfavourable circumstances – the curtains were up. (Groucho Marx)

I have always sought to be understood and, while I was taken to task by critics or colleagues, I thought they were right, assuming I had not been clear enough to be understood. This assumption allowed me to work my whole life without hatred and even without bitterness toward criticism, regardless of its source. (Henri Matisse)

It is salutary to train oneself to be no more affected by censure than by praise. (W. Somerset Maugham)

If I can't put the critical comment into an esthetically adequate form, I don't make the comment. (Philip McCracken)

Sticks and stones are hard on bones, aimed with angry art, / Words can sting like anything but silence breaks the heart. (Phyllis McGinley)

Criticism is prejudice made plausible. (H. L. Mencken)

-note found tucked between the canvas and the stretcher,1877...
Father the Bishop of Salisbury. At his especial request the small piece of blue sky was inserted as making it a more suitable marriage gift than the cloudy skies usual in his Pictures. (E. Mirehouse)

- Strong in the Rain: Selected Poems...
Everyone calls him Blockhead / No one sings his praises / Or takes him to heart... / That is the kind of person / I want to be (Kenji Miyazawa)

An explorer doesn't chart a lake and then note that it would be more suitable if located 300 miles to the east. Instead, the explorer describes just what is found. (Diana Mohrsen)

Lots of people will protest that it's quite unreal and that I'm out of my mind, but that's just too bad... (Claude Monet)

I've done what I could as a painter and that seems to me to be sufficient. I don't want to be compared to the great masters of the past, and my painting is open to criticism; that's enough. (Claude Monet)

While we sketched from a model, Gleyre criticized my work: 'It is not too bad,' he said, 'but the breast is heavy, the shoulder is too powerful, and the foot too big.' I can only draw what I see, I replied timidly. (Claude Monet)

Manet wanted one day to paint my wife and children. Renoir was there. He took a canvas and began painting them, too. After a while, Manet took me aside and whispered, 'You're on very good terms with Renoir and take an interest in his future - do advise him to give up painting! You can see for yourself that it's not his metier at all.' (Claude Monet)

-Marque and Reprisal...
This individual does not know where initiative ends and rocket-propelled idiocy begins. (Elizabeth Moon)

It's not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous. It's more like you blurt something out and then analyze it. (Robert Motherwell)

-letter to Leopold Mozart...
She will never learn the most necessary, most difficult and principal thing in music, that is time, because from childhood she has designedly cultivated the habit of ignoring the beat. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia. (Iris Murdoch)

Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was 'Shut Up.' (Joe Namath)

Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people. (Martina Navratilova)

I can easily ignore my detractors and feel the people who respond favorably. (LeRoy Neiman)

My mom never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch. (Jack Nicholson)

When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself. (Louis Nizer)

To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult. (Louis Nizer)

-The Book of Tea
The art of today is that which really belongs to us: it is our own reflection. In condemning it we but condemn ourselves. (Kakuzo Okakura)

As long as you're willing to be called a fool, you can create anything, do anything, be anything. (Anna Olson)

-wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, letter to a friend on first draft of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde...
He wrote nearly a quire of utter nonsense. Fortunately he has forgotten all about it now, and I shall burn it after I show it to you. He said it was his greatest work. (Fanny Osbourne)

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man's brow. (Ovid)

Worship the spirit of criticism. (Louis Pasteur)

Get a feedback loop and listen to it... When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. (Randy Pausch)

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. (Norman Vincent Peale)

We are apt to love praise, but not deserve it. But if we would deserve it, we must love virtue more than that. (William Penn)

Let it not be assumed that the artist is so smug as to dislike true criticism. No sincere artist was ever completely satisfied with his labour. (Walter J. Phillips)

It is a well-known fact that we see the faults in other's works more readily than we do in our own. (Pablo Picasso)

Before the tongue can speak, it must have lost the power to wound. (Peace Pilgrim)

Ask yourself, 'Am I going to stop painting because of someone else's opinion?' If you love what you're doing, nothing should be able to stop you. (Aleta Pippin)

When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them. (Plato)

I much prefer a compliment, even if insincere, to sincere criticism. (Plautus)

There was a reviewer... who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment. (Jackson Pollock)

Some judge of authors' names, not works, and then / Nor praise nor blame the writings, but the men. (Alexander Pope)

Never find fault with the absent. (Alexander Pope)

Praise undeserved, is satire in disguise. (Alexander Pope)

Donsmanship... the art of criticizing without actually listening. (Stephen Potter)

I consider criticism merely a preliminary excitement, a statement of things a writer has to clear up in his own head sometime or other, probably antecedent to writing; of no value unless it come to fruit in the created work later. (Ezra Pound)

We cannot let external criticism, even if it's true, fortify our internal foe. That foe is strong enough already. (Steven Pressfield)

It's not what you call me, but what I answer to. (African proverb)

Think of your own faults the first part of the night when you are awake and of the faults of others the latter part of the night when you are asleep. (Chinese proverb)

-on Jacob Epstein's Rima, 1925...
There once was a sculptor of mark, / Who was chosen to brighten Hyde Park; / Some thought his design / Most uncommonly fine, / But more like it best in the dark. (Punch)

Don't take my criticisms as iron-clad rules but more as suggestions. (Howard Pyle)

Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they will. (Pythagoras)

Those who criticize, seldom subsidize. (Bob Ragland)

Each one of us, in his timidity, has a limit beyond which he is outraged. It is inevitable that he, who by concentrated application has extended this limit for himself, should arouse the resentment of those who have accepted conventions which, since accepted by all, require no initiative of application. And this resentment generally takes the form of meaningless laughter or of criticism, if not persecution. (Man Ray)

If you can't handle criticism, you're in the wrong game - forget art, join a support group. (Liz Reday)

I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me. (Max Reger)

People fed on sugared praises cannot be expected to feel an appetite for the black broth of honest criticism. (Agnes Repplier)

Criticism often takes from the tree / Caterpillars and blossoms together. (Jean Paul Richter)

How humiliating if someone sees your innermost id and makes criticism. Nothing is more far reaching and damaging with less said. (CJ Rider)

I never read anything concerning my work. I feel that criticism is a letter to the public which the author, since it is not directed to him, does not have to open and read. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism; they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstanding. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

I am opposed to censorship. Censors are pretty sure fools. I have no confidence in the suppression of everyday facts. (James Harvey Robinson)

Recently I have taken to isolating limbs, the torso. Why am I blamed for it? Why is the head allowed and not portions of the body? Every part of the human figure is expressive. (Auguste Rodin)

Your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. (Mitt Romney)

Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Interpretations, criticisms, diagnoses, and judgments of others are actually alienated expressions of our unmet needs. (Marshall Rosenberg)

I can't criticize what I don't understand. If you want to call this art, you've got the benefit of all my doubts. (Charles Rosin)

Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour. (Gioacchino Rossini)

One can't judge Wagner's Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time. (Gioacchino Rossini)

Excuse my scribbling, it is late, and I have a poor candle. (Henri Rousseau)

In putting everyone else down, I am raising myself up... and this will continue until my self-esteem rises. I have just sorted out the mystery of why I am always putting down everybody else's artwork. (Jim Rowe)

Never be ashamed! There's some who'll hold it against you, but they're not worth bothering with. (J. K. Rowling)

Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. (Don Miguel Ruiz)

Criticism polishes my mirror. (Rumi)

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. (Rumi)

If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much. (Donald Rumsfeld)

I have not written in vain if I have heretofore done anything toward diminishing the reputation of the Renaissance landscape painting. (John Ruskin)

-on his own art and subjects...
I do not judge, I only chronicle. (John Singer Sargent)

Know where you're headed with your work. Otherwise your vision and voice might get drowned out by all the other voices that will send you in too many different directions. (Vivian Sathre)

Cezanne was fated, as his passion was immense, to be immensely neglected, immensely misunderstood, and now, I think, immensely overrated. (Walter Sickert)

Vuillard balances too far on the side of fantasy... the people in his pictures are not properly defined. As he's an admirable draughtsman it must be that he just doesn't want to give them mouths and hands and feet. (Paul Signac)

I put my heart and soul into my book - great story and awesome characters... yet people are trying to pull me down. (Nick Simmons)

Faultfinding without suggestions for improvement is a waste of time. (Ralph C. Smedley)

Why should I resent it when an ass kicks me? (Socrates)

The truth is that I don't like rehearsals. I get embarrassed hearing my own work. I assume that the cast is embarrassed to sing the stuff. (Stephen Sondheim)

How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems. (Robert Southey)

There is a certain justice in criticism. (Stephen Spender)

Samuel Beckett once said, 'Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.' On the other hand, he said it. (Art Spiegelman)

-to E. J. Hughes...
I don't object against the light tree trunks in the distance of the paintings, only if your tree trunk in the foreground would be a little darker than those in the distance, it would be easier to overlook the painting. I hope you don't mind my criticisms in this way. If you allow me, I may tone the tree down a bit. (Max Stern)

For some of us, the less said about the way we do things the better. (Mark Strand)

Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent. (Jonathan Swift)

-b.AD 56 d.AD 117...
Abuse, if you slight it, will gradually die away, but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it. (Tacitus)

What I have set down in a moment of ardour I must then critically examine. Sometimes I must do myself violence before I can mercilessly erase things thought out with love. (Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

The nature of all men is so formed that they see and discriminate in the affairs of others, much better than in their own. (Publius Terentius Afer, Terence)

We all need critical confrontation of the fullest and most extreme kind that we can get. You can unnecessarily limit yourself by choosing your criticism... (Wayne Thiebaud)

Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion – what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate. (Henry David Thoreau)

According to one critic, my works looked like scraped billboards. I went to look at the billboards and decided that more billboards should be scraped. (Mark Tobey)

-to his orchestra...
Assassins! (Arturo Toscanini)

Bonnat tells me, 'Your painting isn't bad, it is chic, but even so it isn't bad, but your drawing is absolutely atrocious.' So I must gather my courage and start once again... (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

Art is parasitic on life, just as criticism is parasitic on art. (Harry S. Truman)

It was okay for people to write negative things about me just as long as they spelled my name right. (Ted Turner)

I can live for two months on one good compliment. (Mark Twain)

Sometimes I think of life as a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two. (Brenda Ueland)

Opponents confront us continually, but actually there is no opponent there. Enter deeply into an attack and neutralize it as you draw that misdirected force into your own sphere. (Morihei Ueshiba)

The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement. (Author unknown)

Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea. (John Updike)

-on Tintoretto...
His sketches are so crude that his pencil strokes show more force than judgment and seem to have been made by chance. (Giorgio Vasari)

When Michelangelo was introduced to Titian, he said... that Titian's colouring and his style much pleased him, but that it was a pity that in Venice men did not learn to draw well from the beginning, and that those painters did not pursue a better method in their studies. (Giorgio Vasari)

-on Jacob Epstein's Strand Statues, 1908...
They are a form of statuary which no careful father would wish his daughter, or no discriminating young man, his fiancee to see... (Father Bernard Vaughan)

We are so presumptuous that we think we can separate our personal interest from that of humanity, and slander mankind without compromising ourselves. (Marquis de Vauvenargues)

If we dare to stifle creative expression, we slur the names of all artists and offend their respective works. (Curtis Verdun)

Nothing is more apt to deceive us than our own judgement of our work. We derive more benefit from having our faults pointed out by our enemies than from hearing the opinions of friends. (Leonardo da Vinci)

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. (Voltaire)

As far as criticism is concerned, we don't resent that unless it is absolutely biased, as it is in most cases. (John Vorster)

Criticism is painful when it's not done with love. (Alice Walker)

-on Sir Joshua Reynolds...
All his own geese are swans, as the swans of others are geese. (Horace Walpole)

I am a deeply superficial person. (Andy Warhol)

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him. (Booker T. Washington)

You learn more from a critique if you are given negatives rather than positives... 'You have a nice painting. I think you have succeeded,' tells a student nothing... (Annette Waterbeek)

I ask myself, 'Do you want to sit on the sidelines of life or do you want to be on the field?' I suppose all those years of building thicker skin has made it easy to endure criticism. (Don Watson)

There is always someone to kill the doves. (Sheila Watson)

To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows great and earnest labour is to say that it is incomplete and unfit for view. (James Abbot McNeill Whistler)

Over and over again did the Attorney-General cry out aloud, in the agony of his cause, 'What is to become of painting if the critics withhold their lash?' (James Abbot McNeill Whistler)

Frederic Leighton to James McNeill Whistler: 'My dear Whistler, you leave your pictures in such a sketchy, unfinished state. Why don't you ever finish them?' James McNeill Whistler to Frederic Leighton: 'My dear Leighton, why do you ever begin yours?' (James Abbot McNeill Whistler)

Surely there's room for us all to paint from our own perspective and use our own minutiaescopes. But like the blind men investigating the elephant, we can all come to our own conclusions without belittling the work of another. (Virginia Wieringa)

He has van Gogh's ear for music. (Billy Wilder)

Never let too much criticism or too much praise get in your way. (Leonard Wolf)

These so-called artists style themselves Intransigeants, Impressionists... They throw a few colours on to the canvas at random, and then they sign the lot. (Albert Wolff)

Pictures deface walls more often than they decorate them. (William Wordsworth)

The most irritating experience for an artist is to have his work criticized before it is finished. (Andrew Wyeth)

I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. (William Butler Yeats)

What others think of us is not our concern - it is their concern... It is important only that we radiate life. Every individual must be a joy to himself, to his family and to his society. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)

All your life you are going to be judged; what matters is keeping your soul intact and making work that matters. (Miles Patrick Yohnke)

Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship. (Zeuxis)

-to Camille Pissarro, 1866...
I know that you were admitted [to the Salon] with great difficulty, and I offer my sincere congratulations... You are a great blunderer, Sir - you are an artist that I like. (Emile Zola)


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Last modified: April 25, 2014