Art Quote for the Day

HOW ART BEGAN

” I believe that the arts – which aim at imitating the creations of nature originated in the following way : in a tree trunk, a lump  of earth, or in some other thing – were accidentally discovered  one day as  certain contours that needed only a very slight change to look strikingly like some natural object. Noticing this , people tried to see if it were not possible by addition or subtraction to complete what still was lacking for a perfect likeness.  Thus by adjusting and removing outlines and planes in the way demanded by the object itself, men achieved what they wanted, and not without pleasure.  From that day, man’s capacity to create images grew apace until he was able to create any likeness, even when there was no vague outline in the material to aid him”

from On Sculpture by Leon Baptista Alberti, c 1464

” I do not think it is too much to say that no man, however original he may be, can sit down today and draw the ornament of a cloth, or the form of an ordinary vessel…that will be other than a development or a degradation of forms used hundereds of years ago.”

William Morris ( 1834 – 1896)

“From the point of view, the whole history of art may be summed up as the history of the gradual discovery of appearances.  Primitive art starts like that of children, with symbols of concepts. In a child’s drawing of a face  a circle symbolizes the mask, two dots the eyes, and two lines the nose and mouth. Gradually the symbolism approximates more and more to actual appearance, but the conceptual habits … make it very difficult, even for artists,  to discover what things look like to an unbiased eye. Indeed, it has taken from Neolithic times till the nineteenth century to perfect this discovery.”

from Reflections on British Painting by Roger Fry, 1934

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