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Artist's Quotes: Dealing with Criticism

A collection of quotes by artists on how to deal with criticism.

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Criticism that isn’t constructive can be devastating to an artist. Not really surprising given how much of ourselves we put into our art. It’s not always easy to not to take harsh criticism or ridicule to heart, but as the saying goes: “Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it. If it is unfair, keep from irritation. It if is ignorant, smile. If it is justified, learn from it.” Hopefully this collection of artist’s quotes on dealing with criticism will help you when faced with negative, destructive criticism.

”Lots of people will protest that it’s quite unreal and that I'm out of my mind, but that's just too bad” -- Claude Monet

“It is a well-known fact that we see the faults in other's works more readily than we do in our own.” -- Pablo Picasso

“I paint for myself. I don’t know how to do anything else, anyway.” -- Francis Bacon

“If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint ... and that voice will be silenced, but only by working.” -- Vincent van Gogh, in a letter to Theo van Gogh, 28 October 1883.

“The artist must scorn all judgment that is not based on an intelligent observation of character. He must beware of the literary spirit which so often causes a painting to deviate from its true path – the concrete study of nature – to lose itself all too long in intangible speculations.” -- Paul Cezanne

”When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” -- Marc Chagall

“To escape criticism – do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” -- Elbert Hubbard

”Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway .” -- Eleanor Roosevelt

”I read an article on me once that described my machine-method of silk-screen copying and painting: 'What a bold and audacious solution, what depths of the man are revealed in this solution!' What does that mean?” -- Andy Warhol

”[People] want me to finish things. But I see them in such a way and paint them accordingly. … Nothing is simpler than to complete pictures in a superficial sense. Never does one lie so cleverly as then.”-- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

”Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.” -- Tom Stoppard, author

”Each one of us, in his timidity, has a limit beyond which he is outraged. It is inevitable that he who by concentrated application has extended this limit for himself, should arouse the resentment of those who have accepted conventions which, since accepted by all, require no initiative of application. And this resentment generally takes the form of meaningless laughter or of criticism, if not persecution.” -- Man Ray

“I've done what I could as a painter and that seems to me to be sufficient. I don't want to be compared to the great masters of the past, and my painting is open to criticism; that's enough.” -- Claude Monet

“The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me... People don't realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted.” -- Edouard Manet

“Creativity takes courage.” -- Henri Matisse

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