The Best Mark Rothko quotes

Mark Rothko quotes thumbnail

He was one of the most famous and successful artists of his time, but Mark Rothko always felt like an outsider. This introspective artist had a unique way of looking at the world, and his paintings reflect his personal struggles and innermost thoughts. Although he achieved great success during his life, Rothko never stopped searching for meaning in his work. This is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of an enigmatic artist.

We are glad to present you the most inspiring quotes from Mark Rothko, and much more.


Test your habit in 4-mins


stop digital addiction course
This Course Breaks Your Digital Habits

About Mark Rothko

birth of the author

September 25, 1903

death of the author

February 25, 1970

deathcause of the author

Cause Of Death:

country of the author


education of the author

Lincoln High School, Portland, Oregon

college of the author

Alma Mater:
Yale University

knownfor of the author

Known For:

movement of the author

Abstract Expressionism, Color Field

Inspiring Phrases From Mark Rothko

Look, it’s my misery that I have to paint this kind of painting, it’s your misery that you have to love it, and the price of the misery is thirteen hundred and fifty dollars. — Mark Rothko

I don’t express myself in my paintings. I express my not–self. — Mark Rothko

Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness. — Mark Rothko

That is why we profess a spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art. — Mark Rothko

i don t express myself in my paintings i express my not self Mark Rothko quote

The people that weep before my paintings are having the same religious experience that I had when I painted it. — Mark Rothko

To me art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risk. — Mark Rothko

It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one’s arms again. — Mark Rothko

Various Statements From Mark Rothko

While the authority of the doctor or plumber is never questioned, everyone deems himself a good judge and an adequate arbiter of what a work of art should be and how it should be done. — Mark Rothko

Pictures must be miraculous. — Mark Rothko

pictures must be miraculous Mark Rothko quote

Many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. — Mark Rothko

I am) dealing not with the particular anecdote, but rather with the Spirit of Myth, which is generic to all myths at all times. — Mark Rothko

Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit. — Mark Rothko

For, while the authority of the doctor or plumber is never questioned, everyone deems himself a good judge and an adequate arbiter of what a work of art should be and how it should be done. — Mark Rothko

We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. — Mark Rothko

More Phrases From Mark Rothko

The picture must be… a revelation, an unexpected and unprecedented resolution of an eternally familiar need. — Mark Rothko

You’ve got sadness in you, I’ve got sadness in me–and my works of art are places where the two sadnesses can meet, and therefore both of us need to feel less sad. — Mark Rothko

I’m not an abstractionist… I’m not interested in relationships of colour or form or anything else. — Mark Rothko

I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate these basic human emotions. — Mark Rothko

There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend: One day, the black will swallow the red. — Mark Rothko

there is only one thing i fear in life my friend one day the black will swallow the red Mark Rothko quote

And last, it may be worthwhile trying to hang something beyond the partial wall because some of the pictures do very well in a confined space. — Mark Rothko

I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. — Mark Rothko

Redundant Thematics

In Mark Rothko Statements


Deeper Quotes From Mark Rothko

There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. — Mark Rothko

A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience. — Mark Rothko

This world of the imagination is fancy–free and violently opposed to common sense. — Mark Rothko

there is no such thing as good painting about nothing Mark Rothko quote

I also hang the pictures low rather than high, and particularly in the case of the largest ones, often as close to the floor as is feasible, for that is the way they are painted. — Mark Rothko

There is more power in telling little than in telling all. — Mark Rothko

You think my paintings are calm, like windows in some cathedral? You should look again. I’m the most violent of all the American painters. Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm. — Mark Rothko

The abstract artist has given material existence to many unseen worlds and tempi. — Mark Rothko

Amazing Thoughts From Mark Rothko

If our titles recall the known myths of antiquity, we have used them again because they are the eternal symbols upon which we must fall back to express basic psychological ideas. — Mark Rothko

i am here to make you think i am not here to make pretty pictures Mark Rothko quote

I am here to make you think. . . . I am not here to make pretty pictures! — Mark Rothko

If you are only moved by color relationships, you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions–tragedy, ecstasy, doom. — Mark Rothko

The artist invites the spectator to take a journey within the realm of the canvas… Without taking the journey, the spectator has really missed the essential experience of the picture. — Mark Rothko

Small pictures since the Renaissance are like novels; large pictures are like dramas in which one participates in a direct way. — Mark Rothko

The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to be intimate and human. — Mark Rothko

the reason for my painting large canvases is that i want to be intimate and human Mark Rothko quote

Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact a drama. — Mark Rothko

MARK ROTHKO Quotes Take Away

Mark Rothko’s paintings are awe-inspiring, and his words of wisdom on art are no less profound. We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of quotes from the master artist and that they have inspired you to create your own masterpiece. If you’re looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out our courses. We offer a variety of online classes that will help you learn new techniques and develop your artistic skills. With practice and perseverance, you can achieve anything – including creating beautiful works of art like Mark Rothko.

Wasting Life?


Test your habit in 4-mins