Its life depends on the degree to which it is inhabited by mystery, speaks to us of the unknown.
The painter celebrates life where he finds it. His morality is the morality of enjoyment, of the continuous development of his own taste without shame or fear. It is a sort of heroism.
To know what it is to look at things, life as a prayer, a mass, a celebration.
The development that produces great art is a moral and not an aesthetic development.
All art is probably erotic in its ultimate character, but painting more than anything else is a purely nervous erotic activity.
Art, if it is successful in the task of questioning reality, if it is good painting and not merely a performance of dexterity, will be an affirmation of God.
Everything written about art is profoundly unimportant.
For the notion of progress in the arts, (either spiritually or artistically) has been discredited by many respectable intellects (Kierkegaard and Baudelaire above all, both of whom encountered the idea when it first reared itself in its present form in Europe).
I do not know if there are in fact such things as definable social standards of aesthetics that would have any historical or artistic value, but whether there are or not it seems clear to me that for the painter nothing less than complete personal involvement of a moral nature will do.
It is the fact that no detail is unworthy of his love that affects us deeply, in painting the gesture in full rhetorical flower he is at the same time in love with the very simple existence of the object apart from its significance in action.
Its purpose is moral, that is, the evaluation of experience; in the deepest sense, the development of taste.
Perhaps this is the great weakness of all criticism, that it tends to take facts derived from the examination of unimportant works and applies them in making a judgement about a man whose whole importance rests in the successful work, where these facts do not exist.
New knowledge is only useful in so far as it opens up new vistas for the imagination, and no more so than the old forms which the artist must understand only in order to reject.
You may know a good painter by his habit of work: a good painter works constantly.
A situation has occurred wherein a premium is put on any work qualifying for the term progressive.