There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.— Joshua Reynolds
The most attractive Joshua Reynolds quotes that will activate your inner potential
The real character of a man is found out by his amusements.
A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.
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.
Art in its perfection is not ostentatious; it lies hid and works its effect, itself unseen.
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.
A mere copier of nature can never produce anything great.
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.
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.
Could we teach taste or genius by rules, they would be no longer taste and genius.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Words should be employed as the means, not the end;
language is the instrument, conviction is the work.
An eye critically nice can only be formed by observing well-colored pictures with attention.
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.
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.
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.
The greatest man is he who forms the taste of a nation; the next greatest is he who corrupts it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have great talents, industry will improve them: if you have but moderate abilities, industry will supply their deficiency.
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.
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.
The value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labor employed in it, or the mental pleasure in producing it.
All the gestures of children are graceful;
the reign of distortion and unnatural attitudes commences with the introduction of the dancing master.
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.
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.
It is but a poor eloquence which only shows that the orator can talk.
Certainly, nothing can be more simple than monotony.
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.
Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labour.
A passion for his art, and an eager desire to excel, will more than supply an artist with the place of method.
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.
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.
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.
It is vain for painters... to endeavour to invent without materials on which the mind may work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The excellence of every art, must consist in the complete accomplishment of its purpose
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.
Nothing can come of nothing; he who has laid up no materials can produce no combinations.