23/12/13 Aggiornato il:

Édouard Manet | Quotes /Aforismi



  • Everything is mere appearance, the pleasures of a passing hour, a midsummer night's dream. Only painting, the reflection of a reflection - but the reflection, too, of eternity - can record some of the glitter of this mirage.
  • A painter can say all he wants to with fruit or flowers or even clouds.
  • A good painting is true to itself.
  • - In una figura, cercate la grande luce e la grande ombra, il resto verrà da sé.
  • - Si vede come si vuol vedere, ed è questa falsità che costituisce l'arte.
  • - Dobbiamo ammaliare la verità, darle l'apparenza della follia.
  • - Un quadro è una combinazione originale delle linee e dei toni che si mettono in evidenza.
- Si vede come si vuol vedere, ed è questa falsità che costituisce l'arte.
- Dobbiamo ammaliare la verità, darle l'apparenza della follia.
- Un quadro è una combinazione originale delle linee e dei toni che si mettono in evidenza.
- Tutto ciò che viene privato della sua libertà perde sostanza e si spegne rapidamente.
- Si vede come si vuol vedere, ed è questa falsità che costituisce l'arte.
- Ho passato tutta la vita a provare.

  • I never imagined that France could be represented by such doddering old fools, not excepting that little twit Thiers...
- Letter to Félix Bracquemond (18 March 1871), published in Manet by Himself (1995) by Julliet Wilson-Bareau. 
  • Only party hacks and the ambitious, the Henrys of this world following on the heels of the Milliéres, the grotesque imitators of the Commune of 1793... What an encouragement all these bloodthirsty caperings are for the arts! But there is at least one consolation in our misfortunes: that we're not politicians and have no desire to be elected as deputies.
- Letter to Félix Bracquemond (21 March 1871), published in Manet by Himself (1995) by Julliet Wilson-Bareau
  • He has no talent at all, that boy! You, who are his friend, tell him please to give up painting.
- Spoken to Claude Monet about Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1874), as quoted by John Rewald, The History of Impressionism, Vol.1 (1961).


  • Color is a matter of taste and of sensitivity. 
  • Black is not a color. 
  • -in a letter to Isabelle... I would kiss you, had I the courage. 
  • The attacks of which I have been the object have broken the spring of life in me... People don't realize what it feels like to be constantly insulted. 
  • Insults are pouring down on me as thick as hail. 
  • When you've got it, you've got it. When you haven't, you begin again. All the rest is humbug. 
  • -on the work of Berthe Morisot... This woman's work is exceptional. Too bad she's not a man. 
  • You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and universal figure and still keep it living and real. 
  • It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more. 
  • -on Velazquez... He is the painter of painters. 
  • There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another. 
  • No one can be a painter unless he cares for painting above all else. 
  • If I'm lucky, when I paint, first my patrons leave the room, then my dealers, and if I'm really lucky I leave too. 
  • There is only one true thing: instantly paint what you see. 
  • You would hardly believe how difficult it is to place a figure alone on a canvas, and to concentrate all the interest on this single and unique figure and still keep it living and real. 
  • -on the Irish writer George Moore, 1878... I won't change a thing in his portrait. Is it my fault if Moore looks like a squashed egg yolk and if his face is all lopsided? Anyway, the same applies to everybody's face... 
  • There's no symmetry in nature. One eye is never exactly the same as the other. There's always a difference. We all have a more or less crooked nose and an irregular mouth. 
  • I need to work to feel well. 

Claude Monet writing about Edouard Manet asserted "It was only in 1869 that I saw him again, and then we at once became firm friends. At our first meeting he invited me to join him every evening at a café in the Batignolles district, where he and his friends gathered at the end of the day to talk. There I met Frantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, who had recently returned from Italy, the art critic Duranty, Emile Zola, who was then making his first foray into literature, and several others. For my part I used to take Sisley, Bazille and Renoir there. Nothing could have been more interesting than the discussions we had, with their perpetual clash of opinions. They kept our wits sharpened, encouraged us to press ahead with our own experiments, and provided us with enough enthusiasm to keep at it for weeks on end until our ideas became clear and coherent. From them we emerged more finely tempered, our wills firmer, our thoughts clearer and less confused".