July 14, 2017

“I paint what I see” – or not...

J.M.W. Turner & Manet montage 02

“I paint what I see.”
       Widely attributed to both J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and Edouard Manet (1832-1883).
       Many books and websites credit this proverbial artists’ response to criticism or questions about their work to British landscape artist Joseph Mallord William Turner. Many others credit it French artist Edouard Manet.
       The attribution to Turner is derived from an anecdote noted by British art critic John Ruskin in a lecture he gave at the University of Oxford on February 29, 1872 titled “The Eagle’s Nest.” (Later reprinted in Vol. 22 of Ruskin’s widely-read collected works, published in 1906.)
       Ruskin said Turner once showed a drawing he’d made of Plymouth Harbor at sunset to a friend who was a naval officer. His friend “objected with very justifiable indignation” that the ships in the drawing had no portholes.
       “No,” said Turner, “certainly not. If you will walk up to Mount Edgecumbe, and look at the ships against the sunset, you will find you can’t see the portholes.”
       The naval officer said “Well, but you know the portholes are there.”
       “Yes,” said Turner, “I know that well enough; but my business is to draw what I see, and not what I know is there.”
       Later retellings changed draw to paint, probably because Turner was famous as a painter. Eventually he was wrongly credited with saying “I paint what I see.”
       The second common attribution is based on another legendary art anecdote, this one about the pioneering Impressionist painter Edouard Manet. As a young man, Manet studied at the studio of traditionalist painter Thomas Couture. According Manet’s biographers, Couture once criticized a painting by Manet that presaged his non-traditional style.
       Manet’s insolent response is variously given as “I paint what I see and not what it pleases others to see” or “I paint what I see, and not what others like to see” (with the emphasis on the word I, not see.)
       I suspect that “I paint what I see” was already a philosophical principle and an inside joke familiar to many artists even before Manet said it.

Pablo Picasso with Cubist painting

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”
       Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
       Spanish artist who pioneered new styles in art in the 20th Century, most notably Cubism
       A quote by Picasso included in John Golding’s influential book Cubism: a History and Analysis (1959), later cited by thousands of books and websites

Edvard Munch & The Scream 02

“I do not paint what I see, but what I saw.”
       Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
       Norwegian Expressionist painter and printmaker
        An oft-quoted comment he is said to have made in 1890 regarding the key role his personal emotional memories played in his choice of subjects and distinctive style, as embodied in paintings like “The Scream” (1893)

Edgar Degas & The Absinthe Drinker, 1876

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”             
       Attributed to Edgar Degas (1834-1917)             
       Many books and sites say Degas write those words, but I’ve been unable to find the original source. If you know it, please send me an email and let me know or post a comment on The Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Norman Rockwell self portrait cropped

“I paint what I like to paint. And somehow, for some reason, a good part of the time it coincides with what a lot of people like, it’s popular. Which some (the art critics, for instance) would say, makes me a low type, mediocre, slightly despicable, et cetera. And it may be true (when I’m depressed I think it is)... But there’s really nothing I can do about it. I paint the way I do because that’s the way I'm made...I paint what I do the way I do because that’s how I feel about things.”
       Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
       American illustration artist
       In his autobiography My Adventures as an Illustrator (1960)

David Hockney, A Bigger Splash 1967

“I paint what I like, when I like, and where I like, with occasional nostalgic journeys.”
       David Hockney (b. 1937)
       British Pop artist             
       From the “personal statement” he submitted for a catalogue about a 1962 art show that included his work           

Gahan Wilson I Paint What I See book

“I Paint What I See”
       Gahan Wilson (b. 1937)
       American illustrator known for his dark-humored magazine cartoons depicting monsters, horror and fantasy             
       For the cover of his book I Paint What I See (1971) Wilson used an illustration he did of himself working on a painting of “scary” creatures, suggesting that they are the kinds of things he sees.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

June 23, 2017

“You are what you eat” (among other things)…



“You Are What You Eat”             
Dr. Victor Hugo Lindlahr (1895-1969)
       Pioneering American health food advocate
       The title of
his popular and influential book, first published in 1942, which promotes the idea that eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (a “Catabolic Diet” by Lindlahr) is the key to good health.
       Lindlahr is generally credited with popularizing the phrase, though a
s noted on the great Phrase Finder site, versions had been floating around as far back as the early 1800s French food gourmet Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) included the aphorism “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” in his 1825 book The Physiology of Taste. German philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804-1872) said in an 1863 essay “A man is what he eats.” 
       “You are what you eat” was picked up and recycled by many nutritionists and food writers in the 1950s. In the 1960s, it gained new popularity as a slogan used by organic food advocates, further popularized by the 1968 semi-documentary music/comedy film
You Are What You Eat, which features musicians Peter Yarrow, Barry McGuire, Tiny Tim, Paul Butterfield and lots of Hippies.

Donald Trump Think Big book


“You are what you think you are…Oftentimes, perception is more important than fact.”              
Donald Trump
       Former businessman turned politician; elected the 45th President of the United States in November 2016
       A comment Trump made in book
Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life (originally published in 2007)
       I suspect many people would likely agree that The Donald has adhered to this belief throughout his business and political career.

Social Media Logotype Background


“You are what you post.”              
       An aphorism about social media posts on the internet – made by
more than 800,000 posts on the internet. 



“You are what you is
You is what you am
A cow don’t make ham...
You are what you is
An’ that’s all it ‘tis.”

Frank Zappa
       American musician, filmmaker and entrepreneur
       Lyrics from the title song of Zappa's 1981 double album You Are What You Is

Farla Efros


“You are what you wear. Today, it’s becoming more and more important to choose your apparel consciously and to make sustainable fashion choices.”             
Farla Efros
       President of retail strategic firm HRC Advisory, which advises corporations on ethical operating practices
       Quoted in
a 2016 HuffingtonPost article about “fair trade” fashion wear

James Burke, producer & author


“You are what you know.”              
James Burke
       British science historian, documentary producer and author
       In his excellent book
The Day the Universe Changed (1985)

Critters movies DVD collection boxset UK, starring Dee Wallace, Scott Grimes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Angela Bassett, Don Keith Opper, Terrence Mann, Lin Shaye, Billy Zane, Aimee Brooks, Brad Dourif, Eric DaRe and many more - dvdbash.wordpress.com


“You are what they eat.”              
       Advertising slogan for the movie
Critters 3 (1991), one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s early films



“We are what we think.”              
Buddha (563-483 B.C.)
       Indian spiritual teacher whose teachings are the foundation of the Buddhist religion
       This is the popular English translation of the opening words of Verse 1 of
The Dhammapada, as translated by Thomas Byrom in the mid-1970s. Although Byrom’s version has been widely read and quoted, it’s a loose, creative translation that has been criticized as inaccurate by some Buddhist scholars. Another alternate, somewhat more literal translation of the line is: “All things have the nature of mind.”

Weekly World News, Nov 6, 2001


“You are what you were. Expert reveals how past lives control everything you do – TODAY!”              
       Headlines from a story on page 15 of
the November 6, 2001 issue of the Weekly World News
       I still miss the print version of WWN, but I’m glad there’s
an online version now.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading, listening and viewing…

May 30, 2017

“Ignorance is bliss” – except when it’s not…

Thomas Gray, poet-8x6

“Where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.”

       Thomas Gray (1716-1771) 
       English poet
       From the last two lines of his poem “On a Distant Prospect of Eton College.”
       This is the origin of the proverbial phrase “ignorance is bliss.” In the poem, it referred to young people who are happily oblivious to the difficulties they will face as adults — and to the ultimate, inescapable fate of death.
       “Ignorance is bliss” is now more widely used in one of two ways: to suggest that it is sometimes better not to be aware of something that might make a person unhappy; or, as a satirical remark about people who try to ignore issues they should be concerned about and dealing with. 

William C. Dudley

“Ignorance is bliss. Without sufficient appreciation of our own ignorance, we cease to be curious, we cease to be receptive to new ideas and we cease to be respectful of other people. Awareness of our own ignorance is a virtue: knowing that we do not know everything makes us humble, patient, open to compromise and collaboration. You may have noticed that these qualities are in short supply. Embracing your ignorance is good for you and it’s good for the world.”
       William C. Dudley
       President of Washington and Lee University
       In his commencement speech to graduating students on May 25, 2017

chris rock & robin williams

“Comedians can be a sad bunch, you know. You know what’s the saying? Ignorance is bliss. So if ignorance is bliss, what’s the opposite of ignorance? Must not be bliss. And your job as a comedian, you know, is basically to notice everything. And the better the comedian, the more aware he or she is of the world around them. So you know, it can be not a happy place. Sometimes you can have too much information. Sometimes you can know too much.”

       Chris Rock
       American comedian and actor
       His response in an August 12, 2014 interview about the death by suicide of his friend Robin Williams

Stephen Fry on QI-8x6

“If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t there more happy people in the world?”
       Stephen Fry
       British actor, author and wit
       On the BBC comedy panel game show QI (short for “Quite Interesting”)


“When it comes to anything found on the shelves of the feminine hygiene aisle, ignorance is bliss.”
       Daniel M. Cruse
       American author and EzineArticles.com contributor
       In his post about “Air Intake Systems”

STD poster-8x6           

“When it comes to communicable diseases, ignorance is not bliss.”
       Kay Robertson           
       Communicable disease expert
       At a recent public hearing in Helena, Montana

Party Girl-8x6

DERRICK (actor John Cameron Mitchell): “O’Neal, settle a bet. Is ignorance bliss?”
O’NEAL: (actor Matthew Borlenghi): “I don’t know. I just wanna be happy!”
       In the TV series Party Girl (1996)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and viewing...

May 7, 2017

“Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Anna Karenina quote, Leo Tolstoy (1878) 02a


“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
       Russian novelist, playwright and essayist
first line of Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina (1878)
       This sentence—one of the most famous opening lines in literature—is also sometimes translated as “All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
       The character Anna Karenina is an aristocratic Russian woman who leaves her husband for a rich count named Alexei Vronsky. Their affair has tragic consequences for Anna. In a contrasting subplot, a country landowner named Konstantin Levin finds happiness in his marriage to Kitty, the sister-in-law of Anna’s brother.
       Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina during a period when his own life with his long-suffering
wife Sophia (who he nicknamed Sonya) was becoming increasingly unhappy for both of them. The story was initially published in installments in the journal Russkii Vestrik (The Russian Herald, a.k.a. The Russian Messenger) from January 1875 to April 1877. The first complete book version, in Russian, was published in 1878. The first English translation was published in 1918. Since then, Anna Karenina has often been cited as one of the greatest novels of all time, though some modern readers find it a bit boring (in its own classic way). 
       Nearly twenty film and TV adaptations of the novel have been made. Actresses who have played Anna Karenina in those adaptations include Great Garbo, Vivien Leigh, Nicola Paget, Jacqueline Bissett, Sophie Marceau, Helen McCrory and Keira Knightley.
       I'm hoping Carol Peletier from The Walking Dead TV series will play Anna in the zombie adaptation, which is bound to come sooner or later.

Vladimir Nabokov


“All happy families are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy ones are more or less alike.”
       Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
       Russian-born American novelist and entomologist 
       His response to Tolstoy’s famous line in the novel Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (1969)

Robert Fulford photo-8x6


“It may be the silliest damn sentence ever set down by a great author, Leo Tolstoy’s opening of Anna Karenina...He got things backwards. Experience and literature both demonstrate that happy families come in all shapes and sizes, but the burdens of unhappy families (emotional indifference, poverty, alcoholism, irresponsibility) are painfully predictable.”
Robert Fulford
       Canadian journalist, broadcaster and editor
Comment in his weekly column for The National Post, August 2, 2005

John Pitcher

“To paraphrase Tolstoy, happy musicians are all the same. For the Taylor Swifts of this world, life is one big frosted cupcake. Wretched artists, however, are godforsaken each in their own way.”
       John Pitcher
       American classical music and dance critic
a 2013 article about the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in on NashvilleScene.com



“To paraphrase the great fashion critic Leo Tolstoy, each of the terrible red carpet looks from the 2012 Grammy Awards were terrible in their own way. Sacrilegiously terrible: Nicki Minaj, who showed up in a blood red wimple and studded cloak with her own personal confessor. Turns out that was just a prelude to her performance art piece later in the night, ‘The Exorcism of Roman.’”
       Vicki Hyman
       American celebrity news journalist
a post in her column on the The Star-Ledger website

Molly Ball-8x6


“All winning campaigns are brilliant in hindsight — it’s Tolstoy’s First Rule of Politics (corollary: every losing campaign is dysfunctional in its own way).”
       Molly Ball 
       American journalist who writes regularly for The Atlantic and Politico.com  
       Her astute observation in
a February 1, 2012 post on The Atlantic website about the Presidential primary election



“I believe it was Tolstoy who once wrote, ‘Tasty fast food items are all alike; every crappy fast food item is crappy in its own way.’ To this principle I must add a corollary which shall forevermore be known as the Stuffed Breadsticks Corollary: …but some crappy fast food items are crappy IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE.” 
“Jasper,” the online fast food critic and impulse buy reviewer 
       In his
April 11, 2011 review of the Dunkin’ Donuts Stuffed Breadsticks (Pepperoni & Cheese and Cheeseburger) on The Impulsive Buy website (known for “Putting the ‘ew’ in product reviews”)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and viewing…

April 19, 2017

“Hell is other people” – and their taste in music…

Hell is quiz quotes FINAL


“Hell is other people.” (“L’enfer, c’est les Autres.”)
       Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
       French existential philosopher and writer and Marxist social activist
       This is the oft-quoted line from Sartre’s play No Exit (titled Huis Clos in French), spoken by the character Joseph Garcin. The play was first performed in French at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier theatre in Paris in May 1944. It was first performed in English at the Biltmore Theatre in New York City in 1946, using the translation by the renowned Beat writer and translator, Paul Bowles.  
       Bowles was a bit creative in his translation. “Huis clos” is a French idiomatic expression that’s similar to the English legal term “in camera,” meaning a judicial proceeding or discussion held in private. In fact, the play has sometimes been performed and filmed in English under the title In Camera.
       A more literal translation of “Huis Clos” would be “behind closed doors.” However, the play is best known by the title Bowles came up with. Apparently, it was a hellish translation challenge for him. In the biography Paul Bowles: A Life, he is quoted as saying: “I’m not very good at titles. It took me six weeks to get No Exit out of Huis Clos.”
       No Exit/Huis Clos is about the three doomed souls: a man, Joseph Garcin, and two women, Inès Serrano and Estelle Rigault. They are condemned to Hell for their sins. But instead of facing flames and torture, they are locked together in a room furnished in the Second French Empire style. (Hellish in itself!) There’s not much for them to do except talk about themselves and eventually deal with Estelle’s attempt to seduce Joseph.

French Church of Satan


“Have you heard the expression ‘Hell is other people’? This is true, especially if the other people are French.”
       Satan (as quoted by writer David Katz)
       In a humorous “interview” with the Lord of Hell, “What I’ve Learned: Satan,” published in Esquire magazine, January 2007.

T.S. Eliot Cocktail Party play poster


“What is hell? Hell is oneself,
  Hell is alone, the other figures in it
  Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
  And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.”
       T.S. Eliot
       British poet and playwright
       Said by the character Edward Chamberlayne in Eliot’s play The Cocktail Party, first performed in 1949. In the play, Edward makes amends with his wife Lavinia at a party, after they’d split due to his infidelity. It was the most popular of Eliot’s seven plays in his lifetime.

The Heming Way book


“Hell isn’t other people; it’s other people when you’re sober.”
       Marty Beckerman

       American author
       In his very funny book The Heming Way, which spoofs Ernest Hemingway’s uber-manly attitudes and behavior. The subtitle is How to Unleash the Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested Retro-Sexual Legend Within, Just Like Papa!

Wilson movie


“Hell may be other people, but they’re all we’ve got.”
       Stephanie Zacharek
       Film critic for Time magazine
       Her encapsulation of the point of the movie Wilson (starring Woody Harrelson as the title character), in her review in Time, April 3, 2017. The film is based on the graphic novel by American cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

Li'l Bastard by David McGimpsey


“Hell is other people’s taste in music.”
       David McGimpsey

       Canadian poet and novelist
       In his book of sonnets, Li’l Bastard (2011)

john guzlowski on Twitter


“Hell is other people’s politics.”
       John Guzlowski
       Polish-born American writer and poet
       His response on Twitter to a tweet by Quaint Magazine that said: “Throughout the next few days, we'll be reposting links to work we've published that speaks to the current political climate.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading and stuff…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.