of a back, we want a temperament, an age, a social condition, to be
revealed; through a pair of hands, we should be able to express a
magistrate or a tradesman; by a gesture, a whole series of feelings.
A physiognomy will tell us that this fellow is certainly an orderly,
dry, meticulous man, whereas that one is carelessness and disorderliness
itself. An attitude will tell us that this person is going to a business
meeting, whereas that one is returning from a love tryst. 'A man opens
a door; he enters; that is enough: we see that he has lost his daughter.'
Hands that are kept in pockets can be eloquent. The pencil will be
steeped in the marrow of life."
Degas (1834-1917), French Impressionist. Quoted by Edmond
Duranty, La Nouvelle Peinture: A Propos du Groupe d'Artistes Qui
Expose dans les Galleries Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1876, translated
by Linda Nochlin and included in the Sources and Documents series,
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, 1874-1904, Englewood
"If the man
who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before
him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer.
It is for the artist to do something beyond this: in portrait painting
to put on canvas something more than the face the model wears for
that one day; to paint the man, in short, as well as his features."
McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), American painter and etcher.
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, "Propositions" (1890).
See aestheticism and art for art's sake.
a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted
by such or such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And
the rest? Doesn't everyone look at himself in his own particular way?
Deformations simply do not exist."
Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish artist. Arts de France,
no. 6 (Paris, 1946). Quoted in: Picasso on Art (edited by Dore
to be a work of art, neither must nor may resemble the sitter . .
. the painter has within himself the landscapes he wishes to produce.
To depict a figure one must not paint that figure; one must paint
Boccioni (1882-1916), Italian Futurist painter and sculptor.
Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, April 11, 1910.