Quotes on the arts

Quotes on the arts

These quotes on the arts will help you to explore its nature, form links with other WOKs and AOKs, and provide discussion points for TOK lessons. They will also support you as you address knowledge questions within your TOK essay and TOK presentation.

Consideration points

  1. What do the quotes suggest about the nature of the arts as an area of knowledge?
  2. What do they suggest about the purpose of the arts?
  3. Are the quotes consistent, or do they clash about the role it plays as an area of knowledge, and its relationship with others WOKs and AOKs?
  4. Can you think of other ways of knowing and areas of knowledge that these quotes relate to?
  5. How many of these thinkers are you familiar with? Research the ones you haven’t come across before – and, indeed, the ones you think you already know. Click on the names to take you to the corresponding Wikipedia article, although this should only be used as a starting point for your research.

Finally, how would you use the quotes to construct a typical IB Diploma TOK essay title? Look at , and see if you can compose something similar (and think about how you’d go about structuring it)

1. The purpose and nature of the arts

I think in art, but especially in films, people are trying to confirm their own existences.
Jim Morrison
Art is the proper task of life.
Friedrich Nietzsche
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso
The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don’t dare reveal.
Elia Kazan
Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth.
John Ruskin
All art is but imitation of nature.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.
George Bernard Shaw
Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.
An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.
Andy Warhol
Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.
Oscar Wilde

2. The arts as a way of knowing

Art is not a thing; it is a way.
Elbert Hubbard

3. The arts and emotion

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

4. The arts and intuition

In art as in love, instinct is enough.
Anatole France

5. The arts and language

Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.
Herbie Hancock
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
Georgia O’Keeffe
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.
Pablo Picasso
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

6. The arts and reason

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Rationalism is the enemy of art, though necessary as a basis for architecture.
Arthur Erickson
A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
The waking mind is the least serviceable in the arts.
Henry Miller
The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.
Oscar Wilde

7. The arts and sense perception

If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.
Honore de Balzac

8. The arts and human sciences

Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language.
Steven Pinker
Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.
Edward Steichen

9. The arts and the natural sciences

Art is science made clear.
Wilson Mizner
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein

Cite this page as: Dunn, Michael. Quotes on the arts (6th September 2013). theoryofknowledge.net. http://www.theoryofknowledge.net/areas-of-knowledge/the-arts/quotes-on-the-arts/ Last accessed: 20th March 2018


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