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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Bernard Berenson on art, life, ignorance, growth, death, inspirations, consistency, development, history and painters.

32 Mind-Blowing Quotes By Bernard Berenson

Quick Facts

Famous As: Art Historian

Born On: June 26, 1865

Died On: October 6, 1959

Born In: Butrimonys, Lithuania

Died At Age: 94

Bernard Berenson was an American art historian who specialised in the Renaissance art. He studied at some of the most renowned universities including Harvard during which he met a couple of legendary artists. These artists are believed to have inspired him to publish various studies on art. He further became a dealer under a famous British collector. These experiences encouraged him to publish his first book titled ‘The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance with an Index to their Works’. He displayed his knowledge combined with his systematic approach, which was appreciated by the masses. This also brought him his first share of fame and motivated him to further publish various books. Almost all his books justified his reputation but his most notable work was ‘The Italian Painters of the Renaissance’. The book was a huge success and enhanced his reputation globally. By this time he was a renowned name in the field of arts and his reviews had a great influence on the paintings being sold. Go through the quotes and thoughts by Bernard Berenson about life, art, artists, Renaissance and more

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

Bernard Berenson

Miracles happen to those who believe in them.

Bernard Berenson

Between truth and the search for it, I choose the second.

Bernard Berenson

I would I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours.

Bernard Berenson

Boast is always a cry of despair, except in the young it is a cry of hope.

Bernard Berenson

The average European does not seem to feel free until he succeeds in enslaving and oppressing others.

Bernard Berenson

You can parody and make fun of almost anything, but that does not turn the universe into a caricature.

Bernard Berenson

From childhood on I have had the dream of life lived as a sacrament... the dream implied taking life ritually as something holy.

Bernard Berenson

When everything else physical and mental seems to diminish, the appreciation of beauty is on the increase.

Bernard Berenson

Psychoanalysts are not occupied with the minds of their patients; they do not believe in the mind but in a cerebral intestine.

Bernard Berenson

It makes me happy to encounter goodness, love of work, humane intelligence, and people no matter at what kind of job, be it ever so humble, or ever so exalted, who do it well and con amore.

Bernard Berenson

The ultimate justification of the work of art is to help the spectator to become a work of art himself.

Bernard Berenson

There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man's reason has never learned to separate them.

Bernard Berenson

Literature in its most comprehensive sense is the autobiography of humanity.

Bernard Berenson

Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities.

Bernard Berenson

The artist, depicting man disdainful of the storm and stress of life, is no less reconciling and healing than the poet who, while endowing Nature and Humanity, rejoices in its measureless superiority to human passions and human sorrows.

Bernard Berenson

The Renaissance had resulted in the emancipation of the individual, in making him feel that the universe had no other purpose than his happiness. This brought an entirely new answer to the question, 'Why should I do this or that?' It used to be, 'Because self-instituted authority command you.' The answer now was, 'Because it is good for men.' In this lies our greatest debt to the Renaissance, that it instituted the welfare of men as the end of all action.

Bernard Berenson

A complete life may be one ending in so full identification with the non-self that there is no self to die.

Bernard Berenson

Pessimism like calumny is easy to do, and attracts immediate attention. The gossiper and the writer may find this out soon enough, and a little encouragement from the current mood will procure them successes that bring endless imitators in their trail. On the other hand saying good things about life in general and individuals in particular and making it interesting is a serious task which few can achieve with credit.

Bernard Berenson

Art is mind and heart and touch as much and more than it is mere instrument, technique - without which however it cannot exist at all.

Bernard Berenson

Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one's training.

Bernard Berenson

No artifact is a work of art if it does not help to humanize us. Without art...our world would have remained a jungle.

Bernard Berenson

Consistency, commonly thought of as a good thing, requires you to be as ignorant today as you wre a year ago.

Bernard Berenson

I am only a picture-taster, the way others are wine-or tea-tasters.

Bernard Berenson

Enemies could become the best companions. Companionship is based on a common interest, and the greater the interest the closer the companionship. What makes enemies of people, if not the eagerness, the passion for the same thing?

Bernard Berenson

German is of stone, limestone, pudding stone, marble, granite even, and so to a considerable degree is English, whereas French is bronze and gives out a metallic resonance with tones that neither German nor English tolerate.

Bernard Berenson

Consistency, commonly thought of as a good thing, requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.

Bernard Berenson

In figure painting, the type of all painting, I have endeavoured to set forth that the principal if not sole source of life enchantments are Tactile Values, Movement and Space Composition.

Bernard Berenson

Government is the art of the momentary feasible, of the least bad attainable, and not of the rationally most desirable.

Bernard Berenson

One can repent even of having repented.

Bernard Berenson

As I got warmed up, and felt perfectly at home in talk, I heard myself boasting, lying, exaggerating. Oh, not deliberately, far from it. It would be unconvivial and dull to stop and arrest the flow of talk, and speak only after carefully considering whether I was telling the truth.

Bernard Berenson

Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.

Bernard Berenson