Limitation

DEFINITION

Limitation is showing restraint, taking something only so far and then stopping before doing to much; a principle of design in contrast to horror vacui, and to emphasis or dominance.Quotes: "Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom." Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian artist. See Renaissance. "Every artist knows that there is no such thing as "freedom" in art. The first thing an artist does when he begins a new work is to lay down the barriers and limitations; he decides upon a certain composition, a certain key, a certain relation of creatures or objects to each other. He is never free, and the more splendid his imagination, the more intense his feelings, the farther he goes from general truth and general emotion." Willa Cather (1873-1947), American author, Lights on Adobe Walls, an incomplete manuscript, in Willa Cather on Writing, 1949. "Art consists of limitation . . . . The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame." G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), British author, Tremendous Trifles, "The Troy Theatre," 1909. See frame. "In art progress consists not in extension but in the knowledge of its limits." Georges Braque (1882-1963), French Cubist painter, Nord-Sud Revue, December 12, 1917. See knowledge. "It's good to have limits." Duke Ellington (1899-1974), American composer, pianist, and bandleader, Music Is My Mistress, 1973. "Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem." Rollo May, psychologist, The Courage to Create, 1975. "Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earthshaking ideas." Anonymous. A humorous rule of grammar. Also see beauty, definition, edge, elegance, simplicity, sublime, and taste.

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