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

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.

In figure painting, the type of all painting, I have endeavoured to set forth that the principal if not sole source of life enchantments are Tactile Values, Movement and Space Composition.

There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man's reason has never learned to separate them.

Boast is always a cry of despair, except in the young it is a cry of hope

International affairs will be placed on a better footing when it is understood that there is no way of punishing a people for the crimes of its rulers.

We define genius as the capacity for productive reaction against one's training.

Enemies could become the best companions. Companionship is based on a common interest, and the greater the interest the closer the companionship. What makes enemies of people, if not the eagerness, the passion for the same thing?

It is a library with living rooms attached. [Describing his house]

We usually meet all of our relatives only at funerals where somebody always observes: "Too bad we can't get together more often".

From childhood on I have had the dream of life lived as a sacrament... the dream implied taking life ritually as something holy.

It makes me happy to encounter goodness, love of work, humane intelligence, and people no matter at what kind of job, be it ever so humble, or ever so exalted, who do it well and con amore.

When everything else physical and mental seems to diminish, the appreciation of beauty is on the increase.

Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one's training.

It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I remember - I need not recall - that I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in Itness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one.

Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.

German is of stone, limestone, pudding stone, marble, granite even, and so to a considerable degree is English, whereas French is bronze and gives out a metallic resonance with tones that neither German nor English tolerate.

Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities.

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

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

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"