The real character of a man is found out by his amusements.
There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
The greatest man is he who forms the taste of a nation; the next greatest is he who corrupts it
Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory; nothing can come of nothing
Words should be employed as the means, not the end; language is the instrument, conviction is the work
The value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labor employed in it, or the mental pleasure in producing it.
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.
What has pleased, and continues to please, is likely to please again: hence are derived the rules of art, and on this immoveable foundation they must ever stand.
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.
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.
A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great.
A mere copier of nature can never produce any thing great, can never raise and enlarge the conceptions, or warm the heart of the spectator.
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.
Nature is, and must be the fountain which alone is inexhaustible; and from which all excellencies must originally flow.
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.
Words should be employed as the means, not as the end: language is the instrument, conviction is the work.
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.
Few have been taught to any purpose who have not been their own teachers.
If you have great talents, industry will improve them: if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency.
You must have no dependence on your own genius. If you have great talents, industry will improve them; if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency.
Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius.