Bernard Berenson

Bernard
Berenson
1865
1959

American Art Historian Specializing in the Renaissance, Major figure in pioneering art attribution and therefore establishing the market for paintings by the "Old Masters"

Author Quotes

Government is the art of the momentary feasible, of the least bad attainable, and not of the rationally most desirable.

Literature in its most comprehensive sense is the autobiography of humanity.

Government lasts as long as the under-taxed can defend themselves against the over-taxed.

Miracles happen to those who believe in them.

Governments last only as long as the undertaxed can defend themselves against the overtaxed

No artifact is a work of art if it does not help to humanize us. Without art...our world would have remained a jungle.

I am only a picture-taster, the way others are wine- or tea-tasters.

Not what man knows but what man feels, concerns art. All else is science.

I never felt that there was anything enviable in youth. I cannot recall that any of us, as youths, admired our condition to excess or had a desire to prolong it.

Pessimism like calumny is easy to do, and attracts immediate attention. The gossiper and the writer may find this out soon enough, and a little encouragement from the current mood will procure them successes that bring endless imitators in their trail. On the other hand saying good things about life in general and individuals in particular and making it interesting is a serious task which few can achieve with credit.

I walk in the garden, I look at the flowers and shrubs and trees and discover in them an exquisiteness of contour, a vitality of edge, or a vigour of spring, as well as an infinite variety of colour that no artefact I have seen in the last sixty years can rival...each day, as I look, I wonder where my eyes were yesterday.

Psychoanalysts are not occupied with the minds of their patients; they do not believe in the mind but in a cerebral intestine.

All of the arts, poetry, music, ritual, the visible arts, the theater, must singly and together create the most comprehensive art of all, a humanized society, and its masterpiece, free man.

I wish I could stand on a busy street corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.

Reaction You can parody and make fun of almost anything, but that does not turn the universe into a caricature.

All we really want is otherness, tossing from side to side, and greeting every toss with shouts of welcome, and of contempt for the previous toss

I wonder whether art has a higher function than to make me feel, appreciate, and enjoy natural objects for their art value?

The average European does not seem to feel free until he succeeds in enslaving and oppressing others.

Art is mind and heart and touch as much and more than it is mere instrument, technique - without which however it cannot exist at all.

I would I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.

The Renaissance had resulted in the emancipation of the individual, in making him feel that the universe had no other purpose than his happiness. This brought an entirely new answer to the question, 'Why should I do this or that?' It used to be, 'Because self-instituted authority command you.' The answer now was, 'Because it is good for men.' In this lies our greatest debt to the Renaissance, that it instituted the welfare of men as the end of all action.

As I got warmed up, and felt perfectly at home in talk, I heard myself boasting, lying, exaggerating. Oh, not deliberately, far from it. It would be unconvivial and dull to stop and arrest the flow of talk, and speak only after carefully considering whether I was telling the truth.

I would willingly stand at street corners, hat in hand, begging passerby to drop their unused minutes into it.

The ultimate justification of the work of art is to help the spectator to become a work of art himself.

Between truth and the search for it, I choose the second.

Author Picture
First Name
Bernard
Last Name
Berenson
Birth Date
1865
Death Date
1959
Bio

American Art Historian Specializing in the Renaissance, Major figure in pioneering art attribution and therefore establishing the market for paintings by the "Old Masters"