C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


A picture is a poem without words.


Thank God, I too am a painter!


Painters and poets have liberty to lie.


The mind paints before the brush.

James Ellis.

The love of gain never made a painter; but it has marred many.

Washington Allston.

If we could but paint with the hand as we see with the eye!


A picture is an intermediate something between a thought and a thing.


Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is a speaking picture.


A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.

Sir Joshua Reynolds.

He that would be a master must draw from the life as well as copy from originals, and join theory and experience together.

Jeremy Collier.

The art of painting does not proceed so much by intelligence as by sight and feeling and invention.


Beauty, frail flower that every season fears, blooms in thy colors for a thousand years.


Style in painting is the same as in writing,—a power over materials, whether words or colors.

James Ellis.

Caracci’s strength, Correggio’s softer line, Paulo’s free course, and Titian’s warmth divine.


Ah, would we could at once paint with the eyes! In the long way, from the eye through the arm to the pencil, how much is lost!


A double task to paint the finest features of the mind, and to most subtle and mysterious things give color, strength, and motion.


Blest be the art that can immortalize,—the art that baffles time’s tyrannic claim to quench it.


There are pictures by Titian so steeped in golden splendors, that they look as if they would light up a dark room like a solar lamp.


In portraits, the grace and, we may add, the likeness consists more in taking the general air than in observing the exact similitude of every feature.

Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The first degree of proficiency is, in painting, what grammar is in literature,—a general preparation for whatever species of the art the student may afterwards choose for his more particular application. The power of drawing, modelling, and using colors is very properly called the language of the art.

Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The painter who is content with the praise of the world in respect to what does not satisfy himself is not an artist, but an artisan; for though his reward be only praise, his pay is that of a mechanic.

Washington Allston.

The masters painted for joy, and knew not that virtue had gone out of them. They could not paint the like in cold blood. The masters of English lyric wrote their songs so. It was a fine efflorescence of fine powers.


The first merit of pictures is the effect which they can produce upon the mind; and the first step of a sensible man should be to receive involuntary effects from them. Pleasure and inspiration first, analysis afterward.


The emperor one day took up a pencil which fell from the hand of Titian, who was then drawing his picture; and upon the compliment which Titian made him on that occasion he said, “Titian deserves to be served by Cæsar.”


Stothard learned the art of combining colors by closely studying butterflies’ wings; he would often say that no one knew what he owed to these tiny insects. A burnt stick and a barn-door served Wilkie in lieu of pencil and canvas.

Samuel Smiles.

I have very often lamented and hinted my sorrow, in several speculations, that the art of painting is made so little use of to the improvement of manners. When we consider that it places the action of the person represented in the most agreeable aspect imaginable,—that it does not only express the passion or concern as it sits upon him who is drawn, but has under those features the height of the painter’s imagination,—what strong images of virtue and humanity might we not expect would be instilled into the mind from the labors of the pencil!