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Art in times of coronavirus – 100 inspiring quotes on World Art Day 2020

Though the COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted the artistic community, the spirit of human connection and upliftment through arts remains stronger than ever.

Art in times of coronavirus – 100 inspiring quotes on World Art Day 2020

Wednesday April 15, 2020 , 12 min Read

UNESCO has proclaimed April 15 as World Art Day, a celebration to promote the development, diffusion, and enjoyment of art. It spans the whole spectrum of visual and performing arts. The date was chosen in honour of Leonardo da Vinci, who was born on April 15, 1452.

Art is about inner exploration, creative expression, economic capital, social harmony, global connection, and respect for nature, as portrayed in these diverse quotes. Though the COVID-19 crisis has had a severe emotional and economic impact on the artistic community, artists are regrouping and reinventing themselves for this new normal.

Many galleries now have online viewings, and artists are resorting even more to social media for showcasing their offerings. Musicians are streaming their works online, collaborating across the internet, and teaching classes through videoconferencing. Memes and cartoons are cropping up around the world, showcasing the lighter and darker sides of the crisis.

During the extended lockdown, billions of citizens around the world are flocking online to watch movies, listen to music, and read books. Citizens themselves have become amateur artists by sharing videos of their creative works – ranging from cooking and dancing to drawings and graphic art.

Art is a form of healing and recovery, and provides solace and therapy during times of stress. It helps safeguard mental and spiritual health, and reduce barriers between people, cultures and languages. Art has also been used to spark social change and increase awareness about destructive facets of economic development.

This compilation of quotes salutes the professional and amateur artists around the world in this time of unprecedented crisis. The quotes reflect gratitude to the artistic and humanistic spirit in each of us, and reinforce the importance of creativity, hope, and compassion in these dark hours.

The quotes in this compilation are drawn from YourStory's articles on art as well as a range of online resources. The photographs are chosen from our weekend PhotoSparks section on art and design. See also our compilations of quotes on the occasion of World Book Day, International Jazz Day, and World Photography Day, as well as Top Quotes of 2019 on Design and Art.


A picture is a poem without words. - Horace

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. - Duke Ellington

A society’s competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity. - Albert Einstein

A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others. - Salvador Dalí

A true masterpiece does not tell everything. - Albert Camus

Above all, an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done. - Henri Matisse

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. - Albert Einstein

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. - Charles Cooley

An artist discovers his genius the day he dares not to please. - Andre Malraux

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. - George Santayana

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision. - James Whistler

An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success. - Henri Matisse


An empty canvas is the safest addiction in the world, art is the only drug that won't kill you, instead it'll save your life. - Nikki Rowe

Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful. - Duane Hanson

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. - Thomas Merton

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist. - René Magritte

Art has a voice - let it speak. - Rochelle Carr

Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we - from the local to the global. - Olafur Eliasson

Art is a line around your thoughts. - Gustav Klimt

Art is a step in the known toward the unknown. - Kahlil Gibran

Art is meant to disturb, science reassures. - Georges Braque

Art is never finished, only abandoned. - Leonardo da Vinci


Art is not a mirror to hold up to society, but a hammer with which to shape it. - Leon Trotsky

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. - Edgar Degas

Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious. - Oscar Wilde

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. - Twyla Tharp

Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world. - Leonardo da Vinci

As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life. - John Lubbock

Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. - Banksy

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. - Pablo Picasso

Art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something. - Rainbow Rowell

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons. - Al Hirschfeld


Artwork is a representation of our devotion to life. - Agnes Martin

Bad artists copy. Good artists steal. - Pablo Picasso

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. - Camille Pissarro

Bring your humanity to your art. Bring your art to humanity. - Maxime Lagacé

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

Do not be afraid of being wrong; just be afraid of being uninteresting. - T. Carl Whitmer

Do not fear mistakes. There are none. - Miles Davis

Enlightenment is the journey back from the head to the heart. - Pandit Ravi Shankar

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. - Henry Ward Beecher

Every artist was first an amateur. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. - Pablo Picasso

Everything alters me, but nothing changes me. - Salvador Dalí

Everything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso


Finish the work, otherwise an unfinished work will finish you. - Amit Kalantri

Great art picks up where nature ends. - Marc Chagall

Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it. - Salvador Dalí

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream. - Vincent Van Gogh

I paint and sculpt with the blues. - John Hammond

I shut my eyes in order to see. - Paul Gauguin

I would like to paint the way a bird sings. - Claude Monet

I would rather die of passion than of boredom. - Emile Zola

If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint. - Edward Hopper

If music is a place - then jazz is the city, folk is the wilderness, rock is the road, classical is a temple. - Vera Nazarian

If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying. - Coleman Hawkins

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. - Herman Melville


It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. - Henry David Thoreau

Life is a lot like jazz, it’s best when you improvise. - George Gershwin

Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television. - Woody Allen

Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it. - William Christopher Handy

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. - Oscar Wilde

No great work of art is ever finished. - Michelangelo

One person’s craziness is another person’s reality. - Tim Burton

Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do. - Edgar Degas

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. - Pablo Picasso

Painting is silent poetry. - Plutarch


Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship. - Leonardo da Vinci

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture. - Thelonious Monk

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. - Aristotle

The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul. - Wassily Kandinsky

The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of. - Leonardo da Vinci

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. - Kurt Vonnegut

The earth has music for those who listen. - William Shakespeare

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind. - Marina Abramovic

The great artist is the simplifier. - Vincent Van Gogh

The greatest works of art speak to us without knowing us. - Alain de Botton


The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery. - Francis Bacon

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Albert Einstein

The most creative people are willing to work in the shadow of uncertainty. - Ed Catmull

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. - Pablo Picasso

The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature. - George Inness

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. - Neil Gaiman

There are always flowers for those who want to see them. - Henri Matisse

There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about. - Helen Frankenthaler

There are paintings that take on a life of their own, and do not allow you to finish them. - Efrat Cybulkiewicz


To be an artist is to believe in life. - Henry Moore

To be great, art has to point somewhere. - Anne Lamott

To create, one must first question everything. - Eileen Gray

To draw you must close your eyes and sing. - Pablo Picasso

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit. - John Updike

When I’m playing, I’m never through. It’s unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That’s where the high comes in. - Miles Davis

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. - John Ruskin

When people believe in boundaries, they become part of them. - Don Cherry

When you do things for their own sake, that’s when you create your best work. That’s when it’s art. - Naval Ravikant

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. - Leonardo da Vinci

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life. - Joan Miro

You can’t learn techniques and then try to become a painter. Techniques are a result. - Jackson Pollock

You don’t take a photograph, you make it. - Ansel Adams


An artist’s journey is exceptionally inspirational. There are countless struggles on their path to being celebrated and established. – Anu Menda

Art and culture see no boundaries. People connect at different levels beyond socio-political borders. - Sandhya Singh Parmar

Art demolishes the walls between people. - Subodh Kerkar

Art evokes emotion and a call for action. - Sonal Motla

Art is a platform for discussion. Art is a tool for communication. - Jagdip Jagpal

Art is inherently inclusive. - Siddhant Shah

Art is therapeutic and touches the soul. It is a form of meditation which connects one to the inner self. - Shole Madhusudhanan

Art is therapeutic for the artist as well as art lover. - Harsha D’souza

Art makes us believe in our existence. - Aakanksha Sinha

Artists can be as powerful as politicians in advocating for and influencing policies by being sensory antennae of society. - Afra Khan


Beauty and aesthetics can't be learned, rather felt and experienced. - Sandy Theuerkauf

It is the artist community’s job to awaken and sensitise the world. - Pragya Jain

Photography is about much more than equipment and technique. It is also about composition, communication and creativity. - Vinay Sane

The arts and society share a symbiotic relationship. Just as society needs art to add meaning to life, the arts need the support of society in difficult times. - Manasi Prasad

This is the seduction of creating – you become a part of what you create and what you create becomes a part of you. - Reena Kochar

We are all born to connect, create, and convey. It is, perhaps, our very foremost primal instinct. - Sanjana Shah

What seems like random brushstrokes of myriad hues to one person might invoke a very special reaction or connection in another. - Kanchan Rathna

Without the arts, our race would have been just another species on the planet and not a civilisation. - Sunil Kant Munjal

YourStory has also published the pocketbook Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups, as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).


Edited by Megha Reddy