Friday, March 12, 2010

Words of Wisdom: Alfred Stevens (1823-1906)



The magnifying glass has been laughed at; fine painting ought to be able to withstand it.

The greatness of a work is not to measured by its dimensions.

Success too generally acclaimed belongs oftenest to mediocrity.

A painter is only great when he is a master-workman.

The higher one rises in art, the less is one understood.

One does not judge a picture justly until ten years after its execution.

A painter is constantly at work, even outside his studio.

In painting, it is an art to know when to stop.

Laboriously painted pictures, in which hard work is visible, please the public; it gets its money worth.

Photography proves to us that art is much superior to this admirable invention; even if it found color, it would still be inferior to painting.

In looking at a picture, one aught not to have to suspect the artist of having called photography to his aid.

Masterpieces are generally simple. A figure, a torso suffice to reveal a master.

The painter should try to express himself in his work, and should do it with sincerity.

By looking at the palette of a painter, one knows with whom one is dealing.


A fine picture, the effect of which is admired at a distance, ought equally to bear analysis when looked at near by.

Nothing does more injustice to a good picture than bad neighbors.

In painting, it is well to identify one's self with the seasons. It is a mistake to depict a winter subject in summer.

One should go much to the Louvre to study the masters, but never try to imitate them.

One usually begins a picture with spirit, but often finishes it with a certain melancholy.

There always remains something to do in a picture for the artist who is not easily satisfied.

To make a pupil paint many flowers is excellent instruction.

People have a sad tendency to run after the qualities of their neighbors and to neglect those with which they themselves are endowed.

A student should draw everything that presents itself to his eyes. One must sow in order to reap.

Studios that are too small produce petty work.

A picture should not be of such small dimensions as to lead us to suppose that we are becoming farsighted.

Too good sight is often a fatal gift to a painter, because the retina is maddened by seeing too many things in detail.

All painting should be able to bear close inspection.

A professor may teach principles, but he ought especially to discover and develop the aptitudes of the student.

People do not trouble themselves enough in our day about the workmanship, the trade, painting for painting's sake; but they will be forced to return to it, and only those who possess this master quality will be certain of immortality.

Painters ought to have some knowledge of chemistry. The old masters knew on what and with what they painted- hence the good quality and the fine preservation of their works. In our day, people paint with anything. The old masters painted for posterity; we paint only for the present.

So many painters stop where the difficulty begins!



2 comments:

Mark Reeder said...

Another great post Matthew!

Frank P. Ordaz said...

Good stuff ...