I have always had a passion for the beautiful. If the man in me is often a pessimist, the artist, on the contrary, is pre-eminently an optimist.
The wretched beings depicted by Millet touch us profoundly because he loved them profoundly. They have nothing in common with vulgar ugliness. Beauty will always remain the highest aim of art.
I had not yet acquired the experience which gives modesty.
The artist should not be satisfied to only play the part of a mirror.
There is nothing new under the sun, not even Manet.
I was painting her portrait in the little studio, and when I came to the eyes I stopped, overcome by emotion, and said to her, 'Have you understood me?' She nodded affirmatively. 'Will you be my wife?' I asked. She made the same affirmative sign.
The true is not material reality only.
Courbet comes in 1849 with the intention of overthrowing past art and constructing it anew. While he speaks only of realism, of which he proclaims himself the messiah, his pictures show pre-eminently those qualities which are learned in the museums.
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