My tastes are aristocratic, my actions democratic.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
The hard truth is that what may be acceptable in elite culture may not be acceptable in mass culture, that tastes which pose only innocent ethical issues as the property of a minority become corrupting when they become more established. Taste is context, and the context has changed.
—Susan Sontag (1933–2004) American Writer, Philosopher
One of the surest evidences of an elevated taste is the power of enjoying works of impassioned terrorism, in poetry, and painting. The man who can look at impassioned subjects of terror with a feeling of exultation may be certain he has an elevated taste.
—Benjamin Haydon (1786–1846) English Painter, Writer
Talent, taste, wit, good sense are very different things but by no means incompatible. Between good sense and good taste there exists the same difference as between cause and effect, and between wit and talent there is the same proportion as between a whole and its parts.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
Talk what you will of taste, you will find two of a face as soon as two of a mind.
—Alexander Pope (1688–1744) English Poet
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
Errors of taste are very often the outward sign of a deep fault of sensibility.
—Jonathan Miller (1934–2019) English Theatre Director, Author
For a long time I found the celebrities of modern painting and poetry ridiculous. I loved absurd pictures, fanlights, stage scenery, mountebanks backcloths, inn-signs, cheap colored prints; unfashionable literature, church Latin, pornographic books badly spelt, grandmothers novels, fairy stories, little books for children, old operas, empty refrains, simple rhythms.
—Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91) French Poet, Adventurer
What is food to one man is bitter poison to others.
—Lucretius (c.99–55 BCE) Roman Epicurean Poet, Philosopher
Without taste genius is only a sublime kind of folly. That sure touch which the lyre gives back the right note and nothing more, is even a rarer gift than the creative faculty itself.
—Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand (1768–1848) French Writer, Academician, Statesman
Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.
—Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) Spanish Painter, Sculptor, Artist