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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Clive Bell Quotes

Clive Bell
(16 Sep 1881 - 18 Sep 1964)

English author and art critic who helped popularize the art of the Post-Impressionists in Britain. His book Art (1914) was responsible for spread the term “significant form.” In Civilization, arguing the necessity of a leisured élite for the maintenance of civilization

Science Quotes by Clive Bell (33 quotes)

A good work of visual art carries a person who is capable of appreciating it out of life into ecstasy.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 29-30
Science quotes on:  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Art (657)  |  Capable (168)  |  Carry (127)  |  Ecstasy (9)  |  Good (889)  |  Life (1799)  |  Person (363)  |  Visual (15)  |  Work (1351)

A rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind.
— Clive Bell
In Since Cezanne (1922), 40.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (210)  |  Air (349)  |  Art (657)  |  Bosom (13)  |  Complicated (115)  |  Earth (998)  |  Human (1470)  |  Human Mind (128)  |  Infinitude (3)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Product (160)  |  Result (678)  |  Rise (166)  |  Rose (34)  |  Similarly (4)  |  Strange (157)  |  Visible (84)  |  Work (1351)

All sensitive people agree that there is a peculiar emotion provoked by works of art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 6.
Science quotes on:  |  Agree (26)  |  All (4107)  |  Art (657)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  People (1005)  |  Provoke (9)  |  Sensitive (14)  |  Work (1351)

Art and religion are not professions: they are not occupations for which men can be paid. The artist and the saint do what they have to do, not to make a living, but in obedience to some mysterious necessity. They do not product to live - they live to produce.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1958), 172.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Artist (90)  |  Do (1908)  |  Live (629)  |  Living (491)  |  Make A Living (2)  |  Mysterious (80)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Obedience (19)  |  Occupation (48)  |  Pay (43)  |  Produce (104)  |  Product (160)  |  Profession (102)  |  Religion (363)  |  Saint (17)

Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy. Between aesthetic and religious rapture there is a family alliance. Art and Religion are means to similar states of mind.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 92.
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (46)  |  Alliance (5)  |  Art (657)  |  Circumstance (136)  |  Ecstasy (9)  |  Escape (80)  |  Family (95)  |  Mean (809)  |  Means (580)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Rapture (7)  |  Religion (363)  |  Religious (126)  |  Road (64)  |  Similar (36)  |  State (491)  |  Two (937)

But most of us, however strict we may be, are apt to apply the epithet “beautiful” to objects that do not provoke that peculiar emotion produced by works of art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 12.
Science quotes on:  |  Apply (160)  |  Apt (9)  |  Art (657)  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Do (1908)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Epithet (3)  |  Most (1729)  |  Object (422)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Produce (104)  |  Produced (187)  |  Provoke (9)  |  Strict (17)  |  Work (1351)

Cezanne is the Christopher Columbus of a new continent of form.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1958), 139.
Science quotes on:  |  Christopher Columbus (16)  |  Continent (76)  |  Form (960)  |  New (1217)

Civilized people can talk about anything. For them no subject is taboo…. In civilized societies there will be no intellectual bogeys at sight of which great grown-up babies are expected to hide their eyes
— Clive Bell
In Civilization: An Essay (1928), 138.
Science quotes on:  |  Baby (28)  |  Civilized (18)  |  Expect (201)  |  Eye (423)  |  Great (1575)  |  Hide (69)  |  Intellectual (255)  |  People (1005)  |  Sight (132)  |  Society (325)  |  Subject (522)  |  Taboo (5)  |  Talk (100)  |  Will (2354)

Comfort came in with the middle classes.
— Clive Bell
In Civilization: An Essay (1928), 70-71.
Science quotes on:  |  Class (164)  |  Comfort (59)  |  Middle (16)

Detail is the heart of realism, and the fatty degeneration of art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1958), 149.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Degeneration (10)  |  Detail (146)  |  Heart (230)  |  Realism (7)

Do not mistake a crowd of big wage-earners for the leisure class.
— Clive Bell
As quoted, without citation, in William Safire and Leonard Safir, Words of Wisdom (1990), 251.
Science quotes on:  |  Class (164)  |  Crowd (24)  |  Do (1908)  |  Leisure (24)  |  Mistake (170)  |  Wage (5)

Genius-worship is the infallible sign of an uncreative age.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1928), 161.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Genius (285)  |  Infallible (15)  |  Sign (58)  |  Uncreative (2)  |  Worship (32)

I have no right to consider anything a work of art to which I cannot react emotionally; and I have no right to look for the essential quality in anything that I have not felt to be a work of art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Consider (416)  |  Emotionally (3)  |  Essential (200)  |  Feel (366)  |  Look (582)  |  Quality (134)  |  React (7)  |  Right (452)  |  Work (1351)

I will try to account for the degree of my aesthetic emotion. That, I conceive, is the function of the critic.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 169.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Aesthetic (46)  |  Conceive (99)  |  Critic (20)  |  Degree (275)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Function (229)  |  Try (283)  |  Will (2354)

In primitive art you will find no accurate representation: you will find only significant form. Yet no other art moves us so profoundly.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 22.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurate (87)  |  Art (657)  |  Find (999)  |  Form (960)  |  Move (216)  |  Other (2236)  |  Primitive (75)  |  Profoundly (13)  |  Representation (54)  |  Significant (74)  |  Will (2354)

In this world [of art] the emotions of life find no place.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Find (999)  |  Life (1799)  |  Place (177)  |  World (1778)

It is not by his mixing and choosing, but by the shapes of his colors, and the combination of those shapes, that we recognize the colorist. Color becomes significant only when it becomes form.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1958), 156.
Science quotes on:  |  Become (815)  |  Choose (113)  |  Color (138)  |  Combination (144)  |  Form (960)  |  Mix (19)  |  Recognize (125)  |  Shape (73)  |  Significant (74)

It is the mark of great art that its appeal is universal and eternal.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Appeal (45)  |  Art (657)  |  Eternal (111)  |  Great (1575)  |  Mark (43)  |  Universal (189)

It would follow that “significant form” was form behind which we catch a sense of ultimate reality.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Behind (137)  |  Catch (32)  |  Follow (379)  |  Form (960)  |  Reality (262)  |  Sense (770)  |  Significant (74)  |  Ultimate (146)

Let the artist have just enough to eat, and the tools of this trade: ask nothing of him. Materially make the life of the artist sufficiently miserable to be unattractive, and no-one will take to art save those in whom the divine daemon is absolute.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1958), 172.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (146)  |  Art (657)  |  Artist (90)  |  Ask (411)  |  Divine (112)  |  Eat (104)  |  Enough (341)  |  Let (61)  |  Life (1799)  |  Miserable (7)  |  No-One (2)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Save (118)  |  Sufficiently (9)  |  Tool (117)  |  Trade (31)  |  Unattractive (3)  |  Will (2354)

Once we have judged a thing a work of art, we have judged it ethically of the first importance and put it beyond the reach of the moralist.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Beyond (308)  |  Ethically (4)  |  First (1284)  |  Importance (287)  |  Judge (108)  |  Moralist (2)  |  Reach (281)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Work (1351)

Only reason can convince us of those three fundamental truths without a recognition of which there can be no effective liberty: that what we believe is not necessarily true; that what we like is not necessarily good; and that all questions are open.
— Clive Bell
In Civilization: An Essay (1928), 125.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Belief (578)  |  Convince (41)  |  Effective (59)  |  Fundamental (251)  |  Good (889)  |  Liberty (25)  |  Necessarily (135)  |  Open (274)  |  Question (622)  |  Reason (744)  |  Recognition (88)  |  True (214)  |  Truth (1062)

The forms of art are inexhaustible; but all lead by the same road of aesthetic emotion to the same world of aesthetic ecstasy.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 37.
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (46)  |  All (4107)  |  Art (657)  |  Ecstasy (9)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Form (960)  |  Inexhaustible (24)  |  Lead (385)  |  Road (64)  |  Same (157)  |  World (1778)

The starting-point for all systems of æsthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The objects that provoke this emotion we callworks of art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 8.
Science quotes on:  |  Aelig (3)  |  All (4107)  |  Art (657)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Experience (470)  |  Must (1526)  |  Object (422)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Personal (67)  |  Point (580)  |  Provoke (9)  |  Starting Point (14)  |  System (537)

There must be some one quality without which a work of art cannot exist; possessing which, in the least degree, no work is altogether worthless.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 7.
Science quotes on:  |  Altogether (9)  |  Art (657)  |  Degree (275)  |  Exist (444)  |  Least (75)  |  Must (1526)  |  Possess (156)  |  Quality (134)  |  Work (1351)  |  Worthless (21)

To appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing but a sense of form and colour and a knowledge of three-dimensional space.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Art (657)  |  Bring (90)  |  Color (138)  |  Form (960)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Need (290)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Sense (770)  |  Space (501)  |  Three-Dimensional (11)  |  Work (1351)

To appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its ideas and affairs, no familiarity with its emotions. Art transports us from the world of man’s activity to a world of æsthetic exaltation. For a moment we are shut off from human interests; our anticipations and memories are arrested; we are lifted above the stream of life. The pure mathematician rapt in his studies knows a state of mind which I take to be similar, if not identical. He feels an emotion for his speculations which arises from no perceived relation between them and the lives of men, but springs, inhuman or super-human, from the heart of an abstract science. I wonder, sometimes, whether the appreciators of art and of mathematical solutions are not even more closely allied.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 25.
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (126)  |  Activity (210)  |  Aesthetic (46)  |  Anticipation (18)  |  Appreciate (63)  |  Arise (158)  |  Art (657)  |  Emotion (100)  |  Exaltation (5)  |  Familiarity (19)  |  Feel (366)  |  Heart (230)  |  Human (1470)  |  Idea (845)  |  Identical (53)  |  Interest (386)  |  Know (1519)  |  Knowledge (1536)  |  Life (1799)  |  Lift (55)  |  Live (629)  |  Man (2249)  |  Mathematician (389)  |  Memory (134)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Moment (254)  |  More (2559)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Pure (292)  |  Science (3880)  |  Shut (41)  |  Solution (269)  |  Solution. (53)  |  Speculation (126)  |  Spring (133)  |  State (491)  |  Stream (81)  |  Transport (30)  |  Wonder (236)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1778)

To make “beauty” the objects of the æsthetic emotion, we must give to the word an over-strict and unfamiliar definition.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 14.
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We all agree now - by “we” I mean intelligent people under sixty - that a work of art is like a rose. A rose is not beautiful because it is like something else. Neither is a work of art. Roses and works of art are beautiful in themselves.
— Clive Bell
In Since Cezanne (1922), 40.
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We have no other means of recognising a work of art than our feeling for it.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 8-9.
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What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions? Only one answer seems possible—significant form. In each, lines and colors combined in a particular way; certain forms and relations of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions. These relations and combinations of lines and colours, these æsthetically moving forms, I call “Significant Form”; and “Significant Form” is the one quality common to all works of visual art.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 8.
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Why should [persons of artistic sensibility] stop to think when they are not very good at thinking?
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 5.
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[T]he rapt philosopher, and he who contemplates a work of art, inhabit a world with an intense and peculiar significance of its own; that significance is unrelated to the significance of life.
— Clive Bell
In Art (1913), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (657)  |  Contemplate (18)  |  Inhabit (16)  |  Intense (20)  |  Life (1799)  |  Peculiar (113)  |  Philosopher (259)  |  Rapt (5)  |  Significance (113)  |  Unrelated (6)  |  Work (1351)  |  World (1778)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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