"It is impossible to give a clear account of the world, but art can teach us to reproduce it--just as the world reproduces itself in the course of its eternal gyrations. The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same sea-shore."
"But [Jonas] quickly understood that a disciple was not necessarily someone who wishes to learn something. More often, on the contrary, one became a disciple for the unselfish pleasure of teaching one's master."
"[Many artists], even the greatest ones, are not sure of their own existence. So they search for proof, they judge, they condemn. It strengthens them, it is the beginnings of existence. They are alone!"
"As the twentieth century ends, commerce and culture are coming closer together. The distinction between life and art has been eroded by fifty years of enhanced communications, ever-improving reproduction technologies and increasing wealth."
"The time is perhaps not altogether too green for the vile suggestion that art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear, and more than the light of day (or night) makes the subsolar, -lunar, and -stellar excrement. Art is the sun, moon, and stars of the mind, the whole mind."
"As between these two, the need that in its haste to be abolished cannot pause to be stated and the need that is the absolute predicament of particular human identity, one does not presume to suggest a relation of worth. Yet the distinction is perhaps not idle, for it is from the failure to make it that proceeds the common rejection as "obscure" of most that is significant in modern music, painting and literature."
"Allusion has been made to [Proust's] contempt for the literature that "describes," for the realists and naturalists worshipping the offal of experience, prostrate before the epidermis and the swift epilepsy, and content to transcribe the surface, the façade, behind which the Idea is prisoner."
"When the object is perceived as particular and unique and not merely the member of a family, when it appears independent of any general notion and detached from the sanity of a cause, isolated and inexplicable in the light of ignorance, then and only then may it be a source of enchantment."
"The situation is that of him who is helpless, cannot act, in the event cannot paint, since he is obliged to paint. The act is of him who, helpless, unable to act, acts, in the event paints, since he is obliged to paint."
"We all agree now--by "we" I mean intelligent people under sixty--that a work of art is like a rose. A rose is not beautiful because it is like something else. Neither is a work of art. Roses and works of art are beautiful in themselves. Unluckily, the matter does not end there: a rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind."