Michelangelo quotes


1475 – 1564



There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.

Genius is eternal patience.

What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

From such a gentle thing, from such a fountain of all delight, my every pain is born.

It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand.

Even if you are divine, you don’t disdain male consorts.

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.

Carving is easy, you just go down to the skin and stop.

If in my youth I had realized that the sustaining splendour of beauty of with which I was in love would one day flood back into my heart, there to ignite a flame that would torture me without end, how gladly would I have put out the light in my eyes.

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.

Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.

I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

If we have been pleased with life, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.

Good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture.

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

The best of artists has no conception that the marble alone does not contain within itself.

The greatest artist has no conception which a single block of white marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image.

The more the marbles wastes, the more the statue grows.

It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.

I am still learning.

Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.

Death and love are the two wings that bear the good man to heaven.

I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible.

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.

I live and love in God’s peculiar light.

Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.

What do you despise? By this you are truly known.

The best artist has that thought alone Which is contained within the marble shell; The sculptor’s hand can only break the spell To free the figures slumbering in the stone.

I have never felt salvation in nature. I love cities above all.