148+ Best Michelangelo Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Inspirational Michelangelo quotes will show you his opinions on art, sculpture, learning, and life.

If you’re searching for inspirational art quotes by artists that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of most inspiring Leonardo da Vinci quotes, Vincent Van Gogh quotes, and top Frida Kahlo quotes.

Most Famous Michelangelo Quotes

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. – Michelangelo

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

The idea is there locked inside. All you have to do is remove the excess stone. – Michelangelo

Only God creates. The rest of us just copy. – Michelangelo

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo

Your gifts lie in the place where your values, passions and strengths meet. Discovering that place is the first step toward sculpting your masterpiece, Your Life. – Michelangelo

Beauty is the purgation of superfluities. – Michelangelo

Genius is eternal patience. – Michelangelo

If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius. – Michelangelo

He who follows another will never overtake him – Michelangelo

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

There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. – Michelangelo

Do you know that women who are chaste remain much fresher than those who are not? – Michelangelo

An artist does his most difficult work when he steps back from the blank canvas and thinks about what he is going to create. – Michelangelo

Painters are not in any way unsociable through pride, but either because they find few pursuits equal to painting, or in order not to corrupt themselves with the useless conversation of idle people, and debase the intellect from the lofty imaginations in which they are always absorbed. – Michelangelo

Love is a beautiful image Imagined or seen within the heart, The friend of virtue and gentility. – Michelangelo

For those who feel it, nothing makes the soul so religious and pure as the endeavor to create something perfect; for God is perfection, and whoever strives after it, is striving after something divine. True painting is only the image of the perfection of God, a shadow of the pencil with which he paints, a melody, a striving after harmony. – Michelangelo

Let it be enough for you to have bread and live virtuously and poorly like Christ, as I do here. I live meanly and don’t bother about life or honor … and I live with the greatest toil and a thousand worries. It is now about 15 years since I had a happy hour. – Michelangelo

A good artist ought never to allow impatience to overcome his sense of the main end of art – perfection – Michelangelo

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. – Michelangelo

The greatest risk to man is not that he aims to high and misses, but that he aims to low and hits. – Michelangelo

Already at sixteen, my mind was a battlefield: my love of pagan beauty, the male nude, at war with my religious faith. A polarity of themes and forms: one spiritual, the other earthly. – Michelangelo

Lord, make me see thy glory in every place. – Michelangelo

I criticise by creation, not by finding fault. – Michelangelo

He who does not master the nude cannot understand the principles of architecture. – Michelangelo

Lord free me of myself, so I can please you! – Michelangelo

I serve for the love of God and in Him have all my hope. – Michelangelo

True art is made noble and religious by the mind producing it. – Michelangelo

Led by long years to my last hours, too late, O world, I know your joys for what they are. You promise a peace which is not yours to give and the repose that dies before it is born. The years of fear and shame to which Heaven now set a term, renew nothing in me but the old sweet error in which, living overlong a man kills his soul with no gain to his body. I say and I know having put it to the proof, that he has the better part in Heaven whose death falls nearest his birth. – Michelangelo

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

I couldn’t give you something mediocre even if that’s all you asked for. – Michelangelo

I created a vision of David in my mind and simply carved away everything that was not David. – Michelangelo

To know each other is the best way to understand each other. To understand each other is the only way to love each other. – Michelangelo

Perfection is no small thing, but it is made up of small things. – Michelangelo

In every block of marble, I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it. – Michelangelo

No great work of art is ever finished. – Michelangelo

Do not fret, for God did not create us to abandon us. – Michelangelo

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? – Michelangelo

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

Art is a jealous thing; it requires the whole and entire man. – Michelangelo

Your greatness is measured by your horizons. – Michelangelo

The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material. – Michelangelo

I am still learning. (at age 87) – Michelangelo

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

The art of creation lies in the gift of perceiving the particular and generalizing it, thus creating the particular again. It is therefore a powerful transforming force and a generator of creative solutions in relation to a given problem. – Michelangelo

Art is the gift of God and must be used unto His glory. That in art is highest which aims at this. – Michelangelo

Gazing on beautiful things acts on my soul. – Michelangelo

Beauty depends on purpose. It is in the elements best suited to their purpose or aim that beauty shines forth most strongly. – Michelangelo

Sculpture is made by taking away, while painting is made by adding. – Michelangelo

Critique by creating. – Michelangelo

Genius is infinite painstaking. – Michelangelo

Lorenzo de’ Medici seeks highly skilled, aesthetically oriented individual to conceive and implement several major public projects. You are a generalist with sound training in structural engineering, synthesis of pigments and Christian iconography. Some climbing involved – Michelangelo

It is therefore indisputable that the limbs of architecture are derived from the limbs of man. – Michelangelo

The mind, the soul, becomes ennobled by the endeavour to create something perfect, for God is perfection, and whoever strives after perfection is striving for something devine. – Michelangelo

The science of design, or of line-drawing, if you like to use this term, is the source and very essence of painting, sculpture, architecture… Sometimes… it seems to me that… all the works of the human brain and hand are either design itself or a branch of that art. – Michelangelo

However rich I may have been, I have always lived like a poor man. – Michelangelo

Do not be concerned that you might set a target too high and fail. Be concerned that you will set it too low and succeed. – Michelangelo

After four tortured years, more than 400 over life-sized figures, I felt as old and as weary as Jeremiah. I was only 37, yet friends did not recognize the old man I had become. – Michelangelo

Souls will never ascend to Heaven until the sight of beauty lifts them there. – Michelangelo

When they asked Michelangelo how he made his statue of David he is reported to have said,It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David. – Michelangelo

The hand that follows intellect can achieve. – Michelangelo

In my opinion painting should be considered excellent in proportion as it approaches the effect of relief, while relief should be considered bad in proportion as it approaches the effect of painting. – Michelangelo

As you give out, so shall you receive. – Michelangelo

No one has mastery, Before he is at the end, Of his art and his life. – Michelangelo

Serene I fold my hands and wait. – Michelangelo

Whenever a great painter… does a work which appears to be false and lying, that falsity is very true. – Michelangelo

Poets and painters have the power to dare, I mean to dare to do whatever they may approve of… – Michelangelo

Good painting is nothing else but a copy of the perfections of God and a reminder of His painting. Finally, good painting is a music and a melody which intellect only can appreciate, and with great difficulty. – Michelangelo

Let whoever may have attained to so much as to have the power of drawing know that he holds a great treasure. – Michelangelo

An artist must have his measuring tools not in the hand, but in the eye. – Michelangelo

To touch is to give life. – Michelangelo

How wrong are those simpletons, of whom the world is full, who look more at… color than at the figures which show spirit and movement. – Michelangelo

Love lent me wings; my path was like a stair; A lamp unto my feet, that sun was given; And death was safety and great joy to find; But dying now, I shall not climb to Heaven. – Michelangelo

If I love in thee, beloved, only what thou lovest most, do not be angry; for so one spirit is enamoured of another. – Michelangelo

I always liked instrumental music, and I think there’s a vehicle out there for it. I think a true artist not only records, but you have to perform and you have to have some kind of consistent output. You can’t just put out an album every ten years and never play – that’s not an artist, that’s something else. But I find there’s always been a vehicle for what I’ve done, because I get out there and play all the time. I say 12 hundred shows on my website just in case, because we can’t verify it, but it’s more like 15 hundred! – Michelangelo

I already have a wife who is too much for me.. she is my art, and my works are my children. – Michelangelo

So take care of your life and take notice and be observant, for the number of widows is always far greater than the number of widowers. – Michelangelo

Patience is eternal genius. – Michelangelo

I live and love in God’s peculiar light. – Michelangelo

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

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

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. – Michelangelo

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

Good painting is the kind that looks like sculpture. – Michelangelo

I live in sin, to kill myself I live; no longer my life my own, but sin’s; my good is given to me by heaven, my evil by myself, by my free will, of which I am deprived. – Michelangelo

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. – Michelangelo

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

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

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

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

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. – Michelangelo

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

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

Faith in oneself is the best and safest course. – Michelangelo

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. – Michelangelo

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

Many believe – and I believe – that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him. – Michelangelo

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. – Michelangelo

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

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

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

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

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

Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle. – Michelangelo

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

One paints with one’s head, not one’s hand. – Michelangelo

If it be true that any beautiful thing raises the pure and just desire of man from earth to God, the eternal fount of all, such I believe my love. – Michelangelo

Nature did all things well – Michelangelo

And still I am learning. – Michelangelo

I was never the kind of painter or sculptor who kept a shop. – Michelangelo

Forgiveness is divine, but never pay pull price for late pizza. – Michelangelo

I sometimes set myself thinking and imagining that I find amongst men but one single art or science, and that is drawing or painting, all others being members proceeding therefrom. – Michelangelo

What one has most to work and struggle for in painting is to do the work with a great amount of labour and sweat in such a way that it may afterward appear, however much it was laboured upon, to have been done almost quickly and almost without any labour, and very easily, although it was not. – Michelangelo

My beard towards heaven, I feel my nape support / The back of my head, I grow the breast of a harpy / And my brush as it drips continually / Upon my face, makes it a gorgeous floor. – Michelangelo

Perchance that I might learn what pity is, That I might laugh at erring men no more. – Michelangelo

The best of artists hath no thought to show which the rough stone in its superfluous shell doth not include; to break the marble spell is all the hand that serves the brain can do. – Michelangelo

The great tragedy of life is not that people set their sights too high and fail to achieve their goals but that they set their sights too low and do. – Michelangelo

It is not sufficient merely to be a great master in painting and very wise, but I think that it is necessary for the painter to be very moral in his mode of life, or even, if such were possible, a saint, so that the Holy Spirit may inspire his intellect. – Michelangelo

If the wine is not good, then throw it out! – Michelangelo

I am no artist – please come and help me. – Michelangelo

As when, O lady mine, With chiselled touch The stone unhewn and cold Becomes a living mould, The more the marble wastes, The more the statue grows. – Michelangelo

There is no tongue to speak his eulogy; Too brightly burned his splendor for our eyes; Far easier to condemn his injurers, Than for the tongue to reach his smallest worth, He to the realms of sinfulness came down, To teach mankind, ascending then to God, Heaven unbarred to him her lofty gates, To whom his country heres refused to ope. Ungrateful land! Well, too, does this instruct That greatest ills fall to the perfectest. And, midst a thousand proofs, let this suffice- That, as his exile had no parallel, so never was there man more great than he. – Michelangelo

With few words I shall make thee understand my soul. – Michelangelo

Art is a shadow of Divine perfection. – Michelangelo

It is better decoration when, in painting, some monstrosity is introduced for variety and a relaxation of the senses and to attract the attention of mortal eyes, which at times desire to see that which they have never seen… – Michelangelo

I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are. – Michelangelo

I give my soul to God, my body to the earth, and my worldly possessions to my nearest of kin, charging them to remember the sufferings of Jesus Christ. – Michelangelo

Dear to me is sleep: still more, being made of stone, While pain and guilt still linger here below, Blindness and numbness–these please me alone; Then do not wake me, keep your voices low. – Michelangelo

Is it any wonder, since, when near the fire, I was melted and burned, if now that it’s extinguished outside me, it besets and consumes me inside, and bit by bit reduces me to ashes? – Michelangelo

The goods of Fortune, even such as they really are, still need taste to enjoy them. It is the enjoying no the possessing, that makes us happy. – Michelangelo

Painting and sculpture, labor and good faith, have been my ruin and I continually go from bad to worse. Better it would have been for me if I had set myself to making matches in my youth. I should not be in such distress of mind. – Michelangelo

So now, from this mad passion Which made me take art for an idol and a king I have learnt the burden of error that it bore and what misfortune springs from man’s desire… The world’s frivolities have robbed me of the time That I was given for reflecting upon God. – Michelangelo

No thought is born in me that does not bear the image of death. – Michelangelo

Read the heart and not the letter for the pen cannot draw near the good intent. – Michelangelo

There is an angel imprisoned in it and I must set it free. – Michelangelo

And who is so barbarous as not to understand that the foot of a man is nobler than his shoe, and his skin nobler than that of the sheep with which he is clothed. – Michelangelo

I dare affirm that any artist… who has nothing singular, eccentric, or at least reputed to be so, in his person, will never become a superior talent. – Michelangelo

The power of one fair face makes my love sublime, for it has weaned my heart from low desires. – Michelangelo

If there is some good in me, it is because I was born in the subtle atmosphere of your country of Arezzo. Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer, with which I make my figures. – Michelangelo

Can’t you see the angel imprisoned in the block of stone trying to get out? I am trying to free him – Michelangelo

Why do You Send Fools To judge My Work? – Michelangelo

Heaven-born, the soul a heavenward course must hold; beyond the world she soars; the wise man, I affirm, can find no rest in that which perishes, nor will he lend his heart to ought that doth time depend – Michelangelo

You must know that I am, of all men who were ever born, the most inclined to love persons. Whenever I behold someone who possesses any talent or displays any dexterity of mind, who can do or say something more appropriately than the rest of the world, I am compelled to fall in love with him; and then I give myself up to him so entirely that I am no longer my own property, but wholly his. – Michelangelo

If I am more alive because love burns and chars me, as a fire, given wood or wind, feels new elation, it’s that he who lays me low is my salvation, and invigorates the more, the more he scars me. – Michelangelo

A great sculpture can roll down a hill without breaking. – Michelangelo

Draw, Antonio; draw, Antonio; draw and don’t waste time. – Michelangelo

If people knew how hard I worked at my art, they would not consider me a genius. – Michelangelo

Art lives on constraint and dies of freedom. – Michelangelo

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