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date: 21 February 2020

Art and Society 

  1. I like honesty and sincerity; and I maintain that an artist should not be shabbily treated.
    often quoted as ‘No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist’
    Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827 German composer: letter to C. F. Peters, 5 June 1822
  2. The proletarian state must bring up thousands of excellent ‘mechanics of culture’, ‘engineers of the soul’.
    Maxim Gorky 1868–1936 Russian writer and revolutionary: speech at the Writers' Congress 1934; see Kennedy, Stalin
  3. If he [a composer] has a nice wife and some nice children, how can he let the children starve on his dissonances?
    Charles Ives 1874–1954 American composer: Memos (1972)
  4. In free society art is not a weapon…Artists are not engineers of the soul.
    John F. Kennedy 1917–63 American Democratic statesman, 35th President 1961–3: speech at Amherst College, Mass., 26 October 1963; see Gorky, Stalin
  5. God help the Minister that meddles with art!
    William Lamb, Lord Melbourne 1779–1848 British Whig statesman; Prime Minister 1834, 1835–41: Lord David Cecil Lord M (1954)
  6. Artists are the antennae of the race, but the bullet-headed many will never learn to trust their great artists.
    Ezra Pound 1885–1972 American poet: Literary Essays (1954)
  7. Life without industry is guilt, and industry without art is brutality.
    John Ruskin 1819–1900 English art and social critic: Lectures on Art (1870) Lecture 3 ‘The Relation of Art to Morals’ sect. 95
  8. The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Man and Superman (1903) act 1
  9. Politics in the middle of things that concern the imagination are like a pistol-shot in the middle of a concert.
    Stendhal 1783–1842 French novelist: Le Rouge et le noir (1830) bk. 2, ch. 22
  10. All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.
    Oscar Wilde 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet: Intentions (1891) ‘The Decay of Lying’