Joshua Reynolds quotes

  • There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Inspirational #Success #Real

  • Few have been taught to any purpose who have not been their own teachers.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Education #Teacher #Purpose

  • The real character of a man is found out by his amusements....
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Real #Character #Men

  • A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Originality #Produce #Copiers

  • Words should be employed as the means, not the end; language is the instrument, conviction is the work.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Mean #Language #Conviction

  • A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Life #Art #Rooms

  • If you have great talents, industry will improve them: if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Talent #Ability #Deficiency

  • 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 from nothing.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Memories #Creativity #Littles

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Mind #Answers

  • Art in its perfection is not ostentatious; it lies hid and works its effect, itself unseen.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Lying #Perfection

  • 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, and impress the mind...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Mind #Moments

  • What is a well-chosen collection of pictures, but walls hung round with thoughts?
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Wall #Wells #Chosen

  • From a slight, undetermined drawing, where the ideas of the composition and character are just touched upon, the imagination supplies more than the painter himself, probably, could produce. And we accordingly often find that the finished work disappoints the expectation that was raised from the sketch...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Character #Ideas #Drawing

  • If deceiving the eye were the only business of the art... the minute painter would be more apt to succeed. But it is not the eye, it is the mind which the painter of genius desires to address.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Eye #Deception

  • Our Exhibitions [The Royal Academy] have... a mischievous tendency, by seducing the Painter to an ambition of pleasing indiscriminately the mixed multitude of people who resort to them.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Ambition #People #Exhibitions

  • While I recommend studying the art from artists, Nature is and must be the fountain which alone is inexhaustible, and from which all excellences must originally flow.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Excellence #Flow

  • Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Ideas #Drawing

  • Our studies will be forever, in a very great degree, under the direction of chance; like travelers, we must take what we can get, and when we can get it - whether it is or is not administered to us in the most commodious manner, in the most proper place, or at the exact minute when we would wish to have it.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Forever #Wish #Degrees

  • What has pleased and continues to please, is likely to please again; hence are derived the rules of art, and on this immovable foundation they must ever stand.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Foundation #Pleasure

  • I do not see in what manner practice alone can be sufficient for the production of correct, excellent, and finished pictures. Works deserving this character never were produced, nor ever will arise, from memory alone...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Memories #Character #Practice

  • The great end of all arts is to make an impression on the imagination and the feeling. The imitation of nature frequently does this. Sometimes it fails and something else succeeds.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Imagination #Feelings

  • Poetry operates by raising our curiosity, engaging the mind by degrees to take an interest in the event, keeping that event suspended, and surprising at last with an unexpected catastrophe. The painter's art is more confined, and has nothing that corresponds with, or perhaps is equivalent to, this power and advantage of leading the mind on, till attention is totally engaged. What is done by Painting, must be done at one blow; curiosity has received at once all the satisfaction it can ever have.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Blow #Curiosity

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Heart #Produce #Raises

  • In the practice of art... it is necessary to keep a watchful and jealous eye over ourselves; idleness, assuming the specious disguise of industry... may be employed to evade and shuffle off real labor - the real labor of thinking.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Real #Jealous

  • Whatever trips you make, you must still have nature in your eye...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Travel #Eye #Stills

  • By leaving a student to himself he may... be led to undertake matters above his strength, but the trial will at least have this advantage: it will discover to himself his own deficiencies and this discovery alone is a very considerable acquisition.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Teaching #Discovery #Leaving

  • An artist who brings to his work a mind tolerably furnished with the general principles of art, and a taste formed upon the works of good artists – in short, who knows in what excellence consists - will, with the assistance of models... be an overmatch for the greatest painter that ever lived who should be debarred such advantages.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Mind #Excellence

  • I wish you to be persuaded that success in your art depends almost entirely on your own industry; but the industry which I principally recommend is not the industry of the hands, but of the mind.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Hands #Mind

  • The spectator, as he walks the gallery, will stop, or pass along. To give a general air of grandeur at first view, all trifling, or artful play of little lights, or an attention to a variety of tints is to be avoided; a quietness and simplicity must reign over the whole work, to which a breadth of uniform and simple color will very much contribute.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Simple #Light #Air

  • Grandeur of effect is produced by two different ways which seem entirely opposed to each other. One is by reducing the colors to little more than chiaroscuro... and the other, by making the colors very distinct and forcible... but still, the presiding principle of both those manners is simplicity.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Color #Two #Simplicity

  • Certainly, nothing can be more simple than monotony.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Simple #Simplicity #Monotony

  • Though colour may appear at first a part of painting merely mechanical, yet it still has its rules, and those grounded upon that presiding principle which regulates both the great and the little in the study of a painter.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Principles #May #Littles

  • No art can be grafted with success on another art. For though they all profess the same origin, and to proceed from the same stock, yet each has its own peculiar modes both of imitating nature and of deviating from it... The deviation, more especially, will not bear transplantation to another soil.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Copying #Peculiar

  • The great use of copying, if it be at all useful, should seem to be in learning color; yet even coloring will never be perfectly attained by servilely copying the model before you.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Color #Copying #Use

  • All the gestures of children are graceful; the reign of distortion and unnatural attitudes commences with the introduction of the dancing master.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Dance #Attitude #Children

  • He who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own, will be soon reduced, from mere barrenness, to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to imitate himself, and to repeat what he has before often repeated.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Mind #Imitation #Resolve

  • Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Would Be #Genius #Taste

  • The value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labor employed in it, or the mental pleasure in producing it.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Mental Health #Pleasure

  • Every art, like our own, has in its composition fluctuating as well as fixed principles. It is an attentive inquiry into their difference that will enable us to determine how far we are influenced by custom and habit, and what is fixed in the nature of things.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Differences #Principles

  • The first degree of proficiency is, in painting, what grammar is in literature, a general preparation for whatever the student may afterward choose for more particular application. The power of drawing, modeling, and using colors, is very properly called the language of the art.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Color #Drawing

  • Style in painting is the same as in writing; a power over materials, whether words or colors, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Writing #Color

  • Excellence is never granted to man but as the reward of labor. It argues no small strength of mind to persevere in habits of industry without the pleasure of perceiving those advances, which, like the hand of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Men #Hands #Mind

  • Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labour.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Men #Excellence #Rewards

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Learning #Mind #Matter

  • Simplicity is an exact mediumbetween too little and too much.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Simplicity #Littles #Too Much

  • Gardening as far as Gardening is Art, or entitled to that appellation, is a deviation from nature; for if the true taste consists, as many hold, in banishing every appearance of Art, or any traces of the footsteps of man, it would then be no longer a Garden.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Men #Garden

  • It is but a poor eloquence which only shows that the orator can talk.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Poor #Shows #Eloquence

  • I am convinced that this is the only means of advancing science, of clearing the mind from a confused heap of contradictory observations, that do but perplex and puzzle the Student, when he compares them, or misguide him if he gives himself up to their authority; but bringing them under one general head, can alone give rest and satisfaction to an inquisitive mind.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Confused #Mean #Giving

  • Poetry operates by raising our curiosity, engaging the mind by degrees to take an interest in the event, keeping that event suspended, and surprising at last with an unexpected catastrophe.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Poetry #Curiosity #Mind

  • Genius is supposed to be a power of producing excellences which are put of the reach of the rules of art: a power which no precepts can teach, and which no industry can acquire.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Teaching #Science

  • The excellence of every art, must consist in the complete accomplishment of its purpose
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Accomplishment #Excellence

  • The young mind is pliable and imitates, but in more advanced states grows rigid and must be warmed and softened before it will receive a deep impression.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Mind #Persuasion #States

  • I can recommend nothing better... than that you endeavor to infuse into your works what you learn from the contemplation of the works of others.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Contemplation #Endeavor

  • Perhaps blue, red, and yellow strike the mind more forcibly from there not being any great union between them, as martial music, which is intended to rouse the nobler passions...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Passion #Blue #Yellow

  • The distinct blue, red, and yellow colors... though they have not the kind of harmony which is produced by a variety of broken and transparent colors, have the effect of grandeur.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Blue #Color #Yellow

  • One inconvenience... may attend bold and arduous attempts: frequent failure may discourage. This evil, however, is not more pernicious than the slow proficiency which is the natural consequence of too easy tasks.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Ambition #Evil #Tasks

  • Less coin, less care ...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Money #Coins #Care

  • The greatest man is he who forms the taste of a nation; the next greatest is he who corrupts it.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Greatness #Men #Taste

  • Nothing can be made of nothing; he who has laid up no material can produce no combination.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Made #Produce #Combination

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Fashion #Sight #Knowing

  • Let me recommend to you not to have too great dependence on your practice or memory, however strong those impressions may have been which are there deposited. They are forever wearing out, and will be at least obliterated, unless they are continually refreshed and repaired.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Strong #Memories #Practice

  • I have heard painters acknowledge, though in that acknowledgment no degradation of themselves was intended, that they could do better without nature than with her; or as they express themselves, 'that it only put them out.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Degradation #Painter #Heard

  • However minutely labored the picture may be in the detail, the whole will have a false and even an unfinished appearance, at whatever distance, or in whatever light it can be shown.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Distance #Light #Finishing

  • The painter of genius will not waste a moment upon those smaller objects which only serve to catch the sense, to divide the attention, and to counteract his great design of speaking to the heart.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Heart #Design #Attention

  • By close inspection... you will discover the manner of handling the artifices of contrast, glazing, and other expedients, by which good colorists have raised the value of their tints, and by which nature has been so happily imitated.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Imitation #Inspection #Raised

  • A passion for his art, and an eager desire to excel, will more than supply an artist with the place of method.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Passion #Desire

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Reality #Study

  • Martial music has sudden and strongly marked transitions from one note to another which that style of music requires; while in that which is intended to move the softer passions, the notes imperceptibly melt into one another.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Moving #Passion #Style

  • It is vain for painters... to endeavour to invent without materials on which the mind may work.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Mind #May #Vain

  • 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.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Artist #Men #May

  • It is to Titian we must turn our eyes to find excellence with regard to color, and light and shade, in the highest degree. He was both the first and the greatest master of this art. By a few strokes he knew how to mark the general image and character of whatever object he attempted...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Character #Eye

  • The general ideas which are expressed in sketches, correspond very well to the art often used in poetry... every reader making out the detail according to his own particular imagination... but a painter, when he represents Eve on canvas, is obliged to give a determined form, and his own idea of beauty distinctly expressed.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Art #Ideas #Giving

  • Raphael and Titian seem to have looked at Nature for different purposes; they both had the power of extending their view to the whole; but one looked only for the general effect as produced by form, the other as produced by colour.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Views #Different #Purpose

  • There can be no doubt but that he who has the most materials has the greatest means of invention...
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Mean #Doubt #Invention

  • It is impossible that anything will be well understood or well done that is taken into a reluctant understanding, and executed with a servile hand.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Taken #Hands #Understanding

  • An eye critically nice can only be formed by observing well-colored pictures with attention.
    -- Joshua Reynolds

    #Nice #Eye #Attention