Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Pablo Picasso, fully Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

Spanish Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker, Ceramicist and Stage Designer who co-founded the Cubist Movement, the invention of Constructed Sculpture and the co-invention of Collage

"Painting is stronger than me; it makes me do its bidding. "

"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun. "

"People want to find a meaning in everything and everyone. That's the disease of our age. "

"That inspiration comes does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working. "

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. "

"The chief enemy of creativity is good sense. "

"The more technique you have the less you have to worry about it. The more technique there is the less there is. "

"The people who make art their business are mostly imposters. "

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge. "

"The world doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? "

"To draw, you must close your eyes and sing. "

"We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell. "

"We don't grow older we grow riper. "

"We have a definite but unknown quantity of experience at our disposal. As soon as the hourglass is turned, the sand will begin to run out and once it starts, it cannot stop until it's all gone. "

"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes, if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, and with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly? No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war. "

"What one does is what counts; not what one had the intention of doing. "

"Whatever the source of emotion that drives me to create, I want to give it a form which has some connection with the visible world, even if it is only to wage war on that world....I want my paintings to be able to defend themselves to resist the invader, just as though there were razor blades on all surfaces so no one could touch them without cutting his hands. "

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine. "

"When I was a child my mother said to me, 'If you become a soldier, you'll be a general. If you become a monk, you'll be the pope.' Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso. "

"You become young at sixty. Unfortunately, it's too late "

"You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea. "

"Youth has no age. "

"What a sad fate for a painter who loves blondes, but who refrains from putting them in his picture because they don’t go with the basket of fruit! What misery for a painter who hates apples to be obliged to use them all the time because they go with the cloth! I put everything I love in my pictures. So much the worse for the things, they have only to arrange themselves with one another."

"Formerly pictures used to move towards completion in progressive stages. Each day would bring something new. A picture was a sum of additions. With me, picture is a sum of destructions. I do a picture, then I destroy it. But in the long run nothing is lost; the red that I took away from one place turns up somewhere else."

"Abstract art is only painting. And what’s so dramatic about that? There is no abstract art. One must always begin with something. Afterwards one can remove all semblance of reality; there is no longer any danger as the idea of the object has left an indelible imprint. It is the object which aroused the artist, stimulated his ideas and set of his emotions. These ideas and emotions will be imprisoned in his work for good... Whether he wants it or not, man is the instrument of nature; she imposes on him character and appearance. In my paintings of Dinard, as in my paintings of Purville, I have given expression to more or less the same vision... You cannot go against nature. She is stronger than the strongest of men. We can permit ourselves some liberties, but in details only."

"Neither is there figurative and non-figurative art. All things appear to us in the shape of forms. Even in metaphysics ideas are expressed by forms, well them think how absurd it would be to think of painting without the imagery of forms. A figure, an object, a circle, are forms; they affect us more or less intensely."

"Do you think it interests me that this painting represents two figures? These two figures existed, they exist no more. The sight of them gave me an initial emotion, little by little their real presence grew indistinct they became a fiction for me, then they disappeared, or rather, were turned into problems of all kinds. For me they are no longer two figures but shapes and colours, don’t misunderstand me, shapes and colours, though, that sum up the idea of the two figures and preserve the vibration of their existence."

"How can you expect a beholder to experience my picture as I experienced it? A picture comes to me a long time beforehand; who knows how long a time beforehand, I sensed, saw, and painted it and yet the next day even I do not understand what I have done. How can anyone penetrate my dreams, my instincts, my desires, my thought, which have taken a long time to fashion themselves and come to the surface, above all to grasp what I put there, perhaps involuntary?"

"Accidents, try to change them - it's impossible. The accidental reveals man."

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions derived from anywhere: from the sky, from the earth, from a piece of paper, from a passing figure, from a spider’s web. This is ’s web. This is why one must not make a distinction between things. For them there are no aristocratic quarterings. One must take things where one finds them."

"Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us."

"If everybody is looking for it, then nobody is finding it. If we were cultured, we would not be conscious of lacking culture. We would regard it as something natural and would not make so much fuss about it. And if we knew the real value of this word we would be cultured enough not to give it so much importance."

"A painter paints to unload himself of feelings and visions."

"Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness."

"I don't say everything, but I paint everything."

"I have never had time for the idea of searching. Whenever I wanted to express something, I did so without thinking of the past or the future."

"I'm a joker who has understood his epoch and has extracted all he possibly could from the stupidity, greed and vanity of his contemporaries."

"If there were only one truth, you couldn't paint a hundred canvases on the same theme."

"It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning."

"My whole life has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against Reaction and the death of art."

"Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time."

"One must act in painting as in life, directly."

"Paradise is to love many things with a passion."

"People don't realize what they have when they own a picture by me. Each picture is a phial with my blood. That is what has gone into it."

"Reality is to be found in lightness and darkness."

"The 'refined', the 'rich', the 'professional do nothing', the 'distiller of quintessence' desire only the peculiar, and sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head. The less they understood, the more they have admired me!"

"The academic teaching on beauty is false. We have been misled, but so completely misled that we can no longer find so much as a shadow of a truth again. The beauties of the Parthenon, the Venuses, the Nymphs, the Narcisusses, are so may lies. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty, but what the instinct and the brain can conceive independently of that canon."

"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards you can remove all traces of reality. There's no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark."

"This idea of art for art's sake is a hoax."

"To me there is no past or future in art. If a work of art does not live in the present, it must not be considered at all."