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Top 25 Art, Poetry & Literature Quotes

Inspirational Quotes about Art, Music & Poetry


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

– Pablo Picasso, quoted on Art


“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

– Victor Hugo, quotes on Art


“The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.”

– Mark Twain, quoted about writing


“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

– Albert Einstein, quoted about music


“We are lost if people once again think of music hedonistically.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, as quoted in The Case of Wagner

Inspirational Quotes About Music


“Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don’t listen, and if one plays bad music people don’t talk.”

–  Oscar Wilde, on Music in The Importance of Being Earnest


“The duty of literature is to note what counts, and to light up what is suited to the light. If it ceases to choose and to love, it becomes like a woman who gives herself without preference.”

– Anatole France


“But what is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.”

– Oscar Wilde


“Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.”

– Matthew Quick, on Art


“A writer —and, I believe, generally all persons— must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”

– Jorge Luis Borges

Inspirational Quotes about Art & Music


“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

-Bob Marley


“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche


“What danger hangs over all romanticists, the fate of romanticists? To choke on the ruination of moral and religious absurdities.”

– Goethe


“In a decaying society, art, if it’s truthful must also reflect decay. and unless it wants to break tradition with its social function, art must show the world as changeable, and help to change it.”

– Ernst Fischer


“He (Richard Wagner) has supplied the precious varnish wherewith to hide the dull ugliness of our civilization. He has given to souls despairing over the materialism of this world  to souls despairing of themselves, and longing to be rid of themselves  the indispensable hashish and morphia wherewith to deaden their inner discords.”

– Anthony M. Ludovici

Inspirational Quotes about Literature


“His success in his time, as in ours, is due to the craving of the modern world for actors, sorcerers, bewilderers, and idealists who are able to conceal the ill-health and the weakness that prevail, and who please by intoxicating and exalting.”

– Anthony M. Ludovici


“I wish I were a poet. I’ve never confessed that to anyone, and I’m confessing it to you, because you’ve given me reason to feel that I can trust you. I’ve spent my life observing the universe, mostly in my mind’s eye. It’s been a tremendously rewarding life, a wonderful life. I’ve been able to explore the origins of time and space with some of the great living thinkers. But I wish I were a poet.

Albert Einstein, a hero of mine, once wrote, ‘Our situation is the following. We are standing in front of a closed box which we cannot open.’

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the vast majority of the universe is composed of dark matter. The fragile balance depends on things we’ll never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Life itself depends on them. What’s real? What isn’t real? Maybe those aren’t the right questions to be asking. What does life depend on?

I wish I had made things for life to depend on.”

– Jonathan Safran Foer, on Art


“Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible, solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”

– Unkown


“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”

– Edgar Allan Poe

Inspirational Quotes about Literature & Poetry

“Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid.”

– Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems

“And, because my role in society —or any artist or poet’s role— is to try to express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel, not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all. And it’s like that’s the job of the artist in society, not to… they’re not some alienated being living on the outskirts of town. It’s fine to live on the outskirts of town, but artists must reflect what we all are. […] If that’s taken it too much on meself, I feel that artists are that: they’re reflections of society… mirrors.”

– John Lennon, quoted in The Beatles: All These Years 


“Depend upon it, after all, Thomas, Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path.”

– Edgar Allan Poe, quoted in a Letter to Frederick W. Thomas

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


“You ask me why I spend my life writing? Do I find entertainment? Is it worthwhile? Above all, does it pay?

If not, then, is there a reason…? I write only because

There is a voice within me That will not be still.”

– Sylvia Plath, quoted about writing