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Author Info:

Type: Critic
Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 04/21/1828
Date of Death: 05/03/1893




 

Hippolyte Taine Quotes

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I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.
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The child is an original genius, which adapts itself to a form built up bit by bit by a succession of original geniuses. If there existed no language it would discover one, or find an equivalent.
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Man may be considered as a superior species of animal that produces philosophies and poems in about the same way a silkworm produces their cocoons and bees their hives
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We study ourselves three weeks, we love each other three months, we squabble three years, we tolerate each other thirty years, and then the children start all over again
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The Latins show a decided taste for the external and decorative aspect of things.
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The man who would be a painter must be capable of losing himself in viewing the rich consonance of red and green, in watching the diminution of light as it is transformed into darkness, and in detecting the subtle hues of silks and satins, which according to their breaks, recesses and depths of fold, assume opaline tints, vague luminous gleams and imperceptible shades of blue.
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In Germany and in England it is not regarded as disreputable for a well-educated man to rise from the table partially intoxicated; now and then he becomes completely drunk. With us, on the contrary, it is a reproach, in Italy a disgrace, and in Spain, during the last century, the name of drunkard was an insult which a duel could not wholly wipe out, provoking, as it often did, the dagger.
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Herein we perceive a trait characteristic of man : two very dissimilar successive perceptions leave a common residue, a distinct impression, solicitation, impulsion, which results in the invention or adoption of some mode of expression, either by gesture, cry, articulation, or name.
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Like an Indian deity at leisure, Rubens relieves his fecundity by creating worlds, and from the matchless folds and hues of his tossed simarres to the snowy whites of his flesh, or the pale silkiness of his blonde tresses, there is no tone in any of his canvasses which does not appear there purposely to afford him delight.
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When a great change is effected in human affairs it brings on by degrees a corresponding change in human conceptions. After the discovery of the Indies and of America, after the invention of printing and the multiplication of books, after the restoration of classic antiquity and the Reformation of Luther, any conception of the world then formed could no longer remain monastic and mystic.
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Whilst the Greeks expressed the details of landscape, rivers, fountains and trees under abstract forms, the Flemings strove to render them precisely as they saw them.
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To comprehend and love painting requires an eye sensitive to forms and to colors, and, without education or apprenticeship, one which takes pleasure in the juxtaposition of tones and is delicate in the matter of optical sensations.
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The variety of intonations which it acquires evinces in the child great delicacy of impression and of expression ; hence the faculty of forming general ideas. All we do is to aid it in grasping these ideas by suggesting our words.
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A nation like this cannot fail to be prosperous: when man is both just and energetic the rest comes to him as surplus.
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The most fleeting and most subtle shades of sentiment belong to Rubens; in this respect he is a treasure for novelist and psychologist; he took note of the passing refinements of moral expression as well as of the soft volume of sanguine flesh; no one has gone beyond him in knowledge of the living organism and of the animal man.
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With Hubert Van Eyck the eye is fixed and the face impassible; it is the eternal immobility of divine life; in heaven all is fulfilled and time is no more.
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