The Best Edgar Degas quotes

Edgar Degas quotes thumbnail

Degas was born in Paris, France on July 19th, 1834. He was the oldest of five children and his parents were wealthy merchants. From a young age, Degas showed a talent for art and he enrolled in the former École des Beaux-Arts when he was only thirteen years old. However, Degas never felt satisfied with his education and turned to independent study. Over the next few years, Degas developed his unique style which would become one of the most recognized in all of art history. In addition to painting and sculpture, Degas also worked as a printmaker and photographer.

Discover the most interesting Nature, Work, Painting, Giving, Feelings, Drawing, Picture quotes from Edgar Degas, and much more.


About Edgar Degas

birth of the author

19 July 1834

death of the author

27 September 1917

knownfor of the author

Known For:
Painting, Sculpture, Drawing

movement of the author



Drawing is not what you see but what you must make others see. — Edgar Degas

Make a drawing. Start it all over again, trace it. Start it and trace it again. — Edgar Degas

Drawing is not the same as form, it is a way of seeing form. — Edgar Degas

What is certain is that setting a piece of nature in place and drawing it are two very different things. — Edgar Degas

drawing is not what you see but what you must make others see Edgar Degas quote

Drawing is the artist’s most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality. — Edgar Degas

I always urged my contemporaries to look for interest and inspiration to the development and study of drawing, but they would not listen. They thought the road to salvation lay by the way of colour. — Edgar Degas

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. — Edgar Degas

One does not marry art. One ravishes it. — Edgar Degas

Art is really a battle. — Edgar Degas

make a drawing start it all over again trace it start it and trace it again Edgar Degas quote

Art is vice. You don’t wed it, you rape it. — Edgar Degas


Even in front of nature one must compose. — Edgar Degas

Boredom soon overcomes me when I am contemplating nature. — Edgar Degas

One reproduces only that which is striking; that is to say, the necessary. Thus, one’s recollections and inventions are liberated from the tyranny which nature exerts. — Edgar Degas

Art’ is the same word as ‘artifice,’ that is to say, something deceitful. It must succeed in giving the impression of nature by false means. — Edgar Degas

even in front of nature one must compose Edgar Degas quote

It requires courage to make a frontal attack on nature through the broad planes and the large lines and it is cowardly to do it by the facets and details. It is a battle. — Edgar Degas


There is love, and there is work; and we have only one heart. — Edgar Degas

Muses work all day long and then at night get together and dance… — Edgar Degas

One must have a high opinion of a work of art–not the work one is creating at the moment, but of that which one desires to achieve one day. Without this it is not worthwhile working. — Edgar Degas

The secret is to follow the advice the masters give you in their works while doing something different from them. — Edgar Degas

there is love and there is work and we have only one heart Edgar Degas quote

An artist must approach his work in the spirit of the criminal about to commit a crime. — Edgar Degas

Work a great deal at evening effects, lamplight, candlelight, etc. The intriguing thing is not to show the source of the light but the effect of the lighting. — Edgar Degas

A picture is an artificial work, outside nature. It calls for as much cunning as the commission of a crime. — Edgar Degas

We were created to look at one another, weren’t we? — Edgar Degas


For those who don’t know what they are doing, painting is easy. For those who do know what they are doing, painting is difficult. — Edgar Degas

if painting weren t so difficult it wouldn t be fun Edgar Degas quote

If painting weren’t so difficult, it wouldn’t be fun. — Edgar Degas

The air we see in the paintings of the old masters is never the air we breathe. — Edgar Degas

The creation of a painting takes as much trickery and premeditation as the commitment of a crime. — Edgar Degas

A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people. — Edgar Degas

The frame is the pimp of painting; it enhances it, but it must never shine at the painting’s expense. — Edgar Degas

Conversation in real life is full of half–finished sentences and overlapping talk. Why shouldn’t painting be too? — Edgar Degas

Redundant Thematics

In Edgar Degas Statements


I frequently lock myself in my studio. I do not often see the people I love, and in the end I shall suffer for it… painting is one’s private life. — Edgar Degas

A painting is above all a product of the artist’s imagination, it must never be a copy. If, at a later stage, he wants to add two or three touches from nature, of course it doesn’t spoil anything. — Edgar Degas

People call me the painter of dancing girls. It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes. — Edgar Degas


Realism is more important than the sentiment of the picture. — Edgar Degas

realism is more important than the sentiment of the picture Edgar Degas quote

The air you breathe in a picture is not necessarily the same as the air out of doors. — Edgar Degas

A picture is first of all a product of the imagination of the artist; it must never be a copy. — Edgar Degas

I put it [picture ‘A still life of a pear’ by Edouard Manet] there [on the wall, next to the picture ‘Jupiter and Thetis’ by Jean–Auguste–Dominique Ingres], for a pear like that would overthrow any god. — Edgar Degas

A picture is a thing which requires as much knavery, as much malice, and as much vice as the perpetration of a crime. Make it untrue and add an accent of truth. — Edgar Degas

I’ll buy a bottle for anyone who can tell me what makes a picture beautiful! — Edgar Degas

the air you breathe in a picture is not necessarily the same as the air out of doors Edgar Degas quote

Your pictures would have been finished a long time ago if I were not forced every day to do something to earn money. — Edgar Degas

There is too much talk and gossip; pictures are apparently made, like stock–market prices, by competition of people eager for profits… All this traffic sharpens our intelligence and falsifies our judgment. — Edgar Degas

I would have been in mortal misery all my life for fear my wife might say, ‘That’s a pretty little thing,’ after I had finished a picture. — Edgar Degas

Make people’s portraits in familiar and typical attitudes. — Edgar Degas


In painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false. — Edgar Degas

in painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false Edgar Degas quote

Be sure to give the same expression to a person’s face that you give to his body. — Edgar Degas

Do portraits of people in familiar and typical attitudes, above all give to their face the same choice of expression that one gives to their body. — Edgar Degas

Make portraits of people in typical, familiar poses, being sure above all to give their faces the same kind of expression as their bodies. — Edgar Degas


Women can never forgive me; they hate me, they feel that I am disarming them. I show them without their coquetry. — Edgar Degas

I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey. — Edgar Degas

i feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey Edgar Degas quote

Once they witnessed one of his painting sold at auction for $100,000. And asked how you do it, he said, ‘I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey.’ — Edgar Degas

It’s easy to have talent at 20 but what is difficult is to have talent at 50. — Edgar Degas

Daylight is too easy. What I want is difficult–the atmosphere of lamps and moonlight. — Edgar Degas

EDGAR DEGAS Quotes Take Away

Edgar Degas said, “Art is not a matter of what you see but what you make others see.” This quote embodies the idea that art is about expression and communication. It’s about sharing your vision with the world and making people feel something. Whether it’s sadness, happiness, love, or anger, art can evoke powerful emotions in people. That’s why we’re so passionate about it at The Art Institutes. We want to help you learn how to create beautiful pieces of art that move people and change the way they think. If you’re ready to start your journey towards becoming an artist, check out our courses today.


Quit Your Digital Bad Habits

The ultimate digital detox to cure your digital addiction and rewire to what matters.