From LIFE magazine, July 5, 1906
|It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art, and ignorant
also of surgery. Because people who understand art find nothing in pictures
but blemishes, and surgeons and anatomists see no beautiful women in all
their lives, but only a ghastly stack of bones with Latin names to them,
and a network of nerves and muscles and tissues.
- "Academy of Design," letter to San Francisco Alta California, July 28, 1867
| Criticism is a queer thing. If
I print "She was stark naked"--& then proceeded to describe
her person in detail, what critic would not howl?--who would venture to
leave the book on a parlor table. -- but the artist does this & all
ages gather around & look & talk & point. I can't say, "They
cut his head off, or stabbed him, &c" describe the blood &
the agony in his face.
- Notebook #18, Feb. - Sept. 1879
Whenever I enjoy anything in art it means that it is mighty poor. The
private knowledge of this fact has saved me from going to pieces with
enthusiasm in front of many and many a chromo.
A good legible label is usually worth, for information, a ton of significant
attitude and expression in a historical picture.
by Theresa Fedorowna Ries in Vienna 1897.
Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson.
Also see "Instructions in Art"Also see Mark Twain Takes on Art -- Selections from an exhibition of Spring 2001 from The Mark Twain Papers of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Curated by Lin Salamo with the assistance of Michael B. Frank and Anh Bui.
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