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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on July 28, 2003
This book came recommended to me by my professor of theatre design at NYU. He said, in so many words. "I don't want you to read it cover to cover. Keep it on your toilet and just open to random pages when you get the urge."
One of the most fantastic qualities of Henri's book (which, by the way, is a series of quips and longer anecdotes recorded in print by Henri's students) is that it's non-linear structure allows you to do precisely that- open it to wherever you want and begin. The genius and omniscience of Henri's words saturate this book to make it not only timeless and relevant, but also convenient.
Certainly this book is a must for any artist, visual or not, but Henri's wisdom can be applied to anyone who is literate and breathes. To quote:
"If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits-others who have wanted to do that thing- and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race." (55)
Follow Henri's advice- read the book and add your quota.
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on June 16, 2004
I thought this was a very philosophical book that applies to life in general and not just painting. Lots of his quotes are great. Like this one: "Don't ask someone for a critique until you're unable to give one yourself. Then you will be ready to receive it." The main premise in the book is to have the art spirit. That is, instead of just copying what you see, paint what you feel. I think that is something very few painters do. Have you ever looked at a well executed painting but it just didn't do anything for you? This could be why. Really I think this book is a must read for all artists, even non-painters.
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on January 22, 2011
The Art Spirit is truly a masterpiece. An inspiring book written eloquently with the composure and calmness of a master. Although there are no illustrations, one can "see" that imagination is essential to an artist's success. Henri's artistic philosophic approach in this book, makes one sensitive to seeing beauty; and teaches one to have the determination necessary, to become an artist.Quote "Permit no hurrying on to the lesser masses before all has been done that is possible with the larger masses.Determine to get in these larger masses all that is possible of completion, all the drawing, color, design, character, construction,effect. Remember that the greatest beauty can be expressed through these masses, that the distinction of the whole canvas depends on them." This book is a 'must' in every bookshelf. D. Hopkins
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on April 25, 1998
Within his treatise on art and its many facets, well-known artist and teacher Robert Henri shares insight on the making and viewing of art. He offers insight on areas which all artists must eventually come to terms with, including proportion, technique, color, style, and subject matter. He discloses a lifetime of his personal "life-lessons" about his own art and his personal struggles as an artist, and he shares honestly the perils and triumphs of both he and his students. In a mere moment the reader learns lessons about art and its making which take artists years to learn. This book is a joy in every sense of the word -- from Henri's suggestions on rendering light reflecting from a woman's lower lip to his secrets to making a portrait "glow". Henri's The Art Spirit is a must-read for any reader interested in any aspect of art. ---- A classic.
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on August 30, 1999
This is a book of notes, articles, letters and student instruction from the teacher himself (not any ordinary teacher, mind you) about the concept and technique of picture making, the study of art generally and on appreciation. This is an easy read; one that can be read a bit at a time at leisure. It felt like a visit with an old friend. Full of inspiration and a touch of philosophy here and there, it brings it all together. I quote just this once from Mr. Henri: "Art appreciation, like love, cannot be done by proxy: It is a very personal affair and is necessary to each individual." He is giving advice here on not following the critics! I include this to give the reader the "flavor" of the book. I feel this book is a must read for any artist...and a wonderful re-read, over and over again!
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on February 26, 2001
I was given this book 11 years ago whilst studying at art college and despite all the many other influences I have had and the many books I have read, this one book remains the most important. In a world in which we are pulled in every direction through media and advertising etc, Henri reminds me of what it is to be a real artist. Time and again his writings inspire me and send me off to the studio with purpose in my step. Here is one quote to give an idea of the importance of this book; 'The country is full of men who are working in the cold, or worse- too much heat- just to get enough to purchase a day's miserable existance. You are working for your character, and your pay is to last you all your life.' Buy it. It will be one of the best investments you have ever made.
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on March 5, 2002
My friend who was an artist gave me this book to read. Now it is one of the few that I carry around at all times. Robert Henri saw that there is no division between art and life. To be an artist, or trully alive for that matter, one has to experience life to his fullest. This means finding yourself and the people/things/and way of living that inspire you. When beauty strikes you so, and your full of love and joy it is hard not to do things beautifully. Henri tells us to find that beauty within us and the rest will follow. And one of the most enjoying things I found about this book was that the authors personality is very bright in every sentence. It made the book a great read. To enjoy this book, you need not to know art but to know life.
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on June 14, 2002
Saying that this book is merely great somehow falls short of telling the full story. You see, this book is utterly essential--essential, that is, if you have any desire to glimpse the real meaning of what art is and how it comes to be. This book is joyful, yet completely sensible; spiritual yet fully earthbound. Though nearly a century old, every word in The Art Spirit is relevant today, perhaps more so than ever! I have bought several copies of this book and make a practice of loaning them out when finished, asking each "borrower" to pass it along rather than return it to me. A book like this should never sit closed on a shelf.
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on September 25, 2001
A must for every artist who is doubting their current path. Robert Henri encapsulates the spirit of creativity in this collection of essays, and gives every artist words of encouragement on their road to artistic disovery. Reading his book almost made me feel heroic being an artist. Get this book, and leave it on the edge of your drafting table, or on the comfy chair next to your oils.
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on May 9, 1998
Modern American illustrator Greg Spalunka calls this book the Bible for the artist. It is jam packed with wonderful insights on the "why" of painting and has quite a few great ideas on the "how" as well. The book is perfect for the browser, someone who likes to read a page or two and mull it over for a while and tends ends up next to the toilet. ENJOY!
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