Italian Renaissance Painter, Sculptor, Architect, Poet and Engineer
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
"Love lent me wings; my path was like a stair; a lamp unto my feet, that sun was given; and death was safety and great joy to find; but dying now, I shall not climb to Heaven."
"I thought all the while, I was leaning how to live, but now I know, I was learning how to die."
"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."
"The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course."
"Heaven-born, the soul a heavenward course must hold; beyond the world she soars; the wise man, I affirm, can find no rest in that which perishes, nor will he lend his heart to ought that doth time depend."
"It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."
"Good painting is nothing else but a copy of the perfections of God and a reminder of His painting. Finally, good painting is a music and a melody which intellect only can appreciate, and with great difficulty."
"I sometimes set myself thinking and imagining that I find amongst men but one single art or science, and that is drawing or painting, all others being members proceeding therefrom. "
"Painters are not in any way unsociable through pride, but either because they find few pursuits equal to painting, or in order not to corrupt themselves with the useless conversation of idle people, and debase the intellect from the lofty imaginations in which they are always absorbed. "
"And who is so barbarous as not to understand that the foot of a man is nobler than his shoe, and his skin nobler than that of the sheep with which he is clothed. "
"The mind, the soul, becomes ennobled by the endeavour to create something perfect, for God is perfection, and whoever strives after perfection is striving for something divine. "
"The greatest artist does not have any concept Which a single piece of marble does not itself contain Within its excess, though only A hand that obeys the intellect can discover it."
"So now, from this mad passion Which made me take art for an idol and a king I have learnt the burden of error that it bore And what misfortune springs from man's desire... The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time That I was given for reflecting upon God."
"But if it so happens ... a work ... under pain of otherwise becoming shameful or false, requires fantasy ... [and that] certain limbs or elements of a figure are altered by borrowing from other species, for example transforming into a dolphin the hinder end of a griffon or a stag ... these alterations will be excellent and the substitution, however unreal it may seem, deserves to be declared a fine invention in the genre of the monstrous. When a painter introduces into this kind of work of art chimerae and other imaginary beings in order to divert and entertain the senses and also to captivate the eyes of mortals who long to see unclassified and impossible things, he shows himself more respectful of reason than if he produced the usual figures of men or of animals."
"O night, O sweetest time, though black of hue, with peace you force all the restless work to end; those who exalt you see and understand, and he is sound of mind who honours you. You cut the thread of tired thoughts, for so you offer calm in your moist shade; you send to this low sphere the dreams where we ascend up to the highest, where I long to go. Shadow of death that brings to quiet close all miseries that plague the heart and soul, for those in pain the last and best of cures; you heal the flesh of its infirmities, dry and our tears and shut away our toil, and free the good from wrath and fretting cares."
"Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come. "
"It grieves me greatly that I cannot recapture my past... I can only offer you my future, which is short, for I am too old."
"Every beauty which is seen here below by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all come?."
"If it be true that any beautiful thing raises the pure and just desire of man from earth to God, the eternal fount of all, such I believe my love."
"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."