Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there.

— Ernst Gombrich

The most viral Ernst Gombrich quotes that will transform you to a better person

It took some time before the public learned that to appreciate an Impressionist painting one has to step back a few yards, and enjoy the miracle of seeing these puzzling patches suddenly fall into one place and come to life before our eyes.


One never finishes learning about art.

There are always new things to discover. Great works of art seem to look different every time one stands before them. They seem to be as inexhaustible and unpredictable as real human beings.


All the old bogeys of 'dignified subject-matter,' of 'balanced compositions,' of 'correct drawing' were laid to rest. The artist was responsible to no one but his own sensibilities for what he painted and how he painted it.


The Painter must leave the beholder something to guess.


All artistic discoveries are discoveries not of likenesses but of equivalencies which enable us to see reality in terms of an image and an image in terms of reality.


The paintings in our galleries are seen one day in bright sunshine and another day in the dim light of a rainy afternoon, yet they remain the same paintings, ever faithful, ever convincing. To a marvelous extent they carry their own light within. For their truth is not that of a perfect replica, it is the truth of art.


One cannot explain the existence of genius. It is better to enjoy it.


There really is no such thing as art. There are only artists.


If you ask me what the world looks like to me, it looks like a painting by Pissarro.


All art is image making and all image making is the creation of substitutes.


Art does not copy nature - it suggests it.


Seeing depends on knowledge / And knowledge, of course, on your college / But when you are erudite and wise / What matters is to use your eyes.


About Ernst Gombrich

Quotes 15 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday March 30, 1909

What an artist worries about as he plans his pictures, makes his sketches, or wonders whether he has completed his canvas, is something much more difficult to put into words. Perhaps he would say he worries about whether he has got it 'right'.


During the days of my youth, critics and art-lovers resorted freely to this term of abuse. Even some of the most renowned Old Masters were also pilloried as having manufactured insipid and sugary paintings that were offensive to good taste.