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HomeQuotes170 Leonardo da Vinci Quotes on Living an Artful Life

170 Leonardo da Vinci Quotes on Living an Artful Life

1. “You don’t get into trouble because of the things you don’t know. It is the things you know that really get you into a mess.”

2. “It’s not enough that you believe what you see. You must also understand what you see.”

3. “Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws; she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity.”

4. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

5. “He who never puts in any man will never be deceived.”

6. “Be a mirror, absorb everything around you, and still remain the same.”

7. “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”

8. “Fix your course on a star and you’ll navigate any storm.”

9. “Life is pretty simple—you do some stuff. Most fail. Some works. You do more of what works.”

10. “Your brain is much better than you think; just use it!”

11. “Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art.”

12. “Whatever you do in life, if you want to be creative and intelligent, and develop your brain, you must do everything with the awareness that everything, in some way, connects to everything else.”

13. “Motion is created by the destruction of balance.”

14. “The men suffer is from their own opinions.”

15. “I am not poor. Poor are those who desire many things.”

16. “There are three classes of people—those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.”

17. “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

18. “Experience is a truer guide than the words of others.”

19. “An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.”

20. “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”

21. “If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.”

22. “Every obstacle yields to stern resolve.”

23. “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

24. “Learn diligence before speedy execution.”

25. “That which can be lost cannot be deemed riches.”

26. “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.”

27. “The five senses are the ministers of the soul.”

28. “I awoke, only to see that the rest of the world was still asleep.”

29. “Lying on a feather mattress or quilt will not bring you renown.”

30. “An arch consists of two weaknesses which, leaning one against the other, make a strength.”

31. “To be a winner, you must want to win but must know of the chance of losing and must not fear it.”

32. “That which has no limitations, has no form.”

33. “It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”

34. “Ask advice from him who governs himself well.”

35. “We know well that are more easily detected in the works of others than in one’s own.”

36. “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.”

37. “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”

38. “It is useful to constantly observe, note, and consider.”

39. “He who walks straight rarely falls.”

40. “Envy wounds with false accusations, that is with detraction, a thing which scares virtue.”

41. “He who can copy can do.”

42. “To speak well of a base man is much the same as speaking ill of a good man.”

43. “He who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-pot.”

44. “You must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.”

45. “Whatever you think matters, doesn’t. Follow this rule, and you will add decades to your life.”

46. “The grave will fall upon him who digs it.”

47. “To discover the soul living in somebody’s body, we watch the surrounding of the body; and if it’s messy and disordered, so is the soul.”

48. “If on your own or by the criticism of others you discover errors in your work, correct it then and there; otherwise in exposing your work to the public, you will expose your error also.”

49. “He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.”

50. “Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation—even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”

51. “Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.”

52. “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”

53. “All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”

54. “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”

55. “Learning is the only thing that never disappoints us.”

56. “The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.”

57. “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.”

58. “Men of lofty genius, when they are doing the least work, are most active.”

59. “The wisest and noblest teacher is nature itself.”

60. “I’m not content to capture the world. I want to change it.”

61. “The length of a man’s outspread arms is equal to his height.”

62. “Experience never misleads; what you are misled by is only your judgment, and this misleads you by anticipating results from experience of a kind that is not produced by your experiments.”

63. “I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door!”

64. “Intellectual passion dries out sensuality.”

65. “He who thinks little errs much.”

66. “An artist’s studio should be a small space, because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it.”

67. “You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself. The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment; and this law is the expression of eternal justice.”

68. “The knowledge of all things is possible.”

69. “Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience, it is necessary for us to do the opposite—that is, to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.”

70. “The young man should first learn perspective, then the proportions of objects. Next, copy work after the hand of a good master, to gain the habit of drawing parts of the body well; and then to work from nature, to confirm the lessons learned.”

71. “Let proportion be found not only in numbers and measures, but also in sounds, weights, times, and positions, and whatever force there is.”

72. “The cat is nature’s masterpiece.”

73. “He who fears dangers will not perish by them.”

74. “Advertisers constantly invent cures to which there is no disease.”

75. “It vexes me greatly that having to earn my living has forced me to interrupt the work and to attend to small matters.”

76. “Therefore, O students, study mathematics and do not build without foundations.”

77. “It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which you may find really marvellous ideas.”

78. “But to me, all sciences seem vain and full of error.”

79. “Fire destroys falsehood, that is sophistry, and restores truth, driving out darkness.”

80. “A diamond is just a lump of coal stuck to its job.”

81. “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.”

82. “Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail.”

83. “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.”

84. “Obstacles cannot bend me. Every obstacle yields to effort.”

85. “Truth is so excellent, that if it praises but small things, they become noble.”

86. “Everything proceeds from everything else and everything becomes everything, and everything can be turned into everything else.”

87. “Common sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses.”

88. “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

89. “The days are long enough for those who use them.”

90. “A clever man without wisdom is like a beautiful flower without fragrance.”

91. “Every man at three years old is half his height.”

92. “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”

93. “Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory.”

94. “Whoever in debate quotes authority uses not intellect, but memory.”

95. “Man’s external form, marvellously constructed, is not much as compared with the divine soul that dwells inside that structure.”

96. “The world wouldn’t be the world without trouble.”

97. “There is no higher or lower knowledge, but one only, flowing out of experimentation.”

98. “Not to anticipate is already to moan.”

99. “Wisdom is the of experience.”

100. “We must doubt the certainty of everything which passes through the senses, but how much more ought we to doubt things contrary to the senses, such as the existence of God and the soul.”

101. “Let not your rage or malice destroy a life.”

102. “Fear arises sooner than anything else.”

103. “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”

104. “Oysters open completely when the moon is full; and when the crab sees one it throws a piece of stone or seaweed into it and the oyster cannot close again so that it serves the crab for meat. Such is the fate of him who opens his mouth too much and thereby puts himself at the mercy of the listener.”

105. “The worst evil which can befall the artist is that his work should appear good in his own eyes.”

106. “Study the science of art and the art of science.”

107. “Just as courage imperils life, fear protects it.”

108. “Whoever does not respect life, does not deserve it.”

109. “Putting your hand into a river, you simultaneously touch the last of what is passing and the first of what is coming.”

110. “Not to punish evil is equivalent to authorizing it.”

111. “While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”

112. “Every obstacle is destroyed through rigor.”

113. “Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.”

114. “The moment is timeless.”

115. “Once you have tasted the , you will forever look up.”

116. “He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.”

117. “There is nothing which deceives us as much as our own judgement.”

118. “Not to appreciate life—all of life—is not to deserve it.”

119. “In time and with water, everything changes.”

120. “People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life.”

121. “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

122. “Vitality and beauty are gifts of Nature for those who live according to its laws.”

123. “Every now and then, go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.”

124. “He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.”

125. “Who sows virtue ought to reap honour.”

126. “Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitudes.”

127. “Poor is the man who desires a lot.”

128. “A long life is a life well spent.”

129. “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

130. “Our life is made by the death of others.”

131. “Painting is concerned with all the ten attributes of sight which are—darkness, light, solidity and color, form and position, distance and propinquity, motion and rest.”

132. “The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.”

133. “An artist who lacks the power of self-criticism accomplishes but little. It is good if your work stands higher than your own opinion of it; bad if it is on the same level. But it is a great disaster if your work stands lower than your judgment of it.”

134. “To lie is vile, to tell the truth is excellent, if not noble.”

135. “Virtue is our true wealth and the true reward of its possessor; it cannot be lost, it never deserts us until life leaves us.”

136. “A good painter is to paint two main things—men and the working of man’s mind.”

137. “Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold.”

138. “My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.”

139. “Every action needs to be prompted by a motive. To know and to will are two operations of the human mind. Discerning, judging, deliberating are acts of the human mind.”

140. “Love shows itself more in adversity than in prosperity; as light does, which shines most where the place is darkest.”

141. “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It’s the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

142. “Look at the light and admire its beauty. Close your eyes, and then look again—what you saw is no longer there; and what you will see later is not yet.”

143. “Marriage is like putting your hand into in the hope of pulling out an eel.”

144. “If you are alone, you belong entirely to yourself.”

145. “If the thing loved is base, the lover becomes base.”

146. “As you cannot do what you want, want what you can do.”

147. “Life without love is no life at all.”

148. “Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known.”

149. “Reprove your friend in secret and praise him openly.”

150. “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.”

151. “Vows begin when hope dies.”

152. “The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.”

153. “All thoughts start from emotions.”

154. “It is ill to praise and worse to blame the thing which you do not understand.”

155. “Avoid the precepts of those thinkers whose reasoning is not confirmed by experience.”

156. “The eye encompasses the beauty of the whole world.”

157. “The most beautiful words of love are told in silence for a look.”

158. “We are deceived by promises and time disappoints us.”

159. “When counting, try not to mix with blessings.”

160. “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.”

161. “Nothing is hidden under the sun.”

162. “Great love is born of great knowledge of the thing that is loved, and if you do not know it, you can love it little or not at all.”

163. “Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?”

164. “The greater the man’s soul, the deeper he loves.”

165. “One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature.”

166. “Happy will they be who lend ear to the words of the dead.”

167. “He only moves toward the perfection of his art whose criticism surpasses his achievement.”

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