Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
Sir Joshua Reynolds
  A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.  1
  Excellence is never granted to man, but as the reward of labor. It argues, indeed, no small strength of mind to persevere in the habits of industry, without the pleasure of perceiving those advantages which, like the hands of a clock, whilst they make hourly approaches to their point, yet proceed so slowly as to escape observation.  2
  Genius is supposed to be a power of producing excellences which are out of the reach of the rules of art: a power which no precepts can teach, and which no industry can acquire.  3
  In portraits, the grace and, we may add, the likeness consists more in taking the general air than in observing the exact similitude of every feature.  4
  Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory. Nothing can be made of nothing; he who has laid up no material can produce no combinations.  5
  It is but poor eloquence which only shows that the orator can talk.  6
  Nothing is denied to well-directed labor; nothing is ever to be attained without it.  7
  Reform is a work of time; a national taste, however wrong it may be, cannot be totally changed at once.  8
  Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much.  9
  Style in painting is the same as in writing,—a power over materials, whether words or colors, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed.  10
  Taste depends upon those finer emotions which make the organisation of the soul.  11
  The first degree of proficiency is, in painting, what grammar is in literature,—a general preparation for whatever species of the art the student may afterwards choose for his more particular application. The power of drawing, modelling, and using colors is very properly called the language of the art.  12
  The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter.  13
  The real character of a man is found out by his amusements.  14
  Those who, either from their own engagements and hurry of business, or from indolence, or from conceit and vanity, have neglected looking out of themselves, as far as my experience and observation reach, have from that time not only ceased to advance, and improve in their performances, but have gone backward. They may be compared to men who have lived upon their principal, till they are reduced to beggary, and left without resources.  15

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