Quote: Stephen Fry on art

Stephen Fry is a famous British actor, humorist and blogger. He recently gave a speech on the occasion of the private viewing of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which is entertaining in its detail. I especially wanted to pull this quote:

While I could not be more delighted that we live in a verbal world, I do understand the pleasure in occasionally laying language aside and letting some other non-verbal part of our brains take over. For you cannot explain a work of art in words. A painter makes a painting out of paint paint is its language. If you can define it, nail it, comprehend it in words then something is rather wrong. A work of art is precisely that which remains when you have run out of words to describe it. The works that move us most are those that have the most life and power in them when the talking stops. If an artist could have said it in words, well then they would have done. Instead they have said it in paint, or stone, or bronze, or glass or whatever medium they may have chosen.

There are many humorous passages in the speech but this more serious paragraph is very well-phrased.