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Re: Life is short, art is long

Posted by Bob on November 26, 2004

In Reply to: Life is short, art is long posted by Jose Carlos on November 26, 2004

: Hello:

: First question - "Life is short, art is long." Is this the usual way the Latin saying is rendered in English?

: Second question - What is the actual meaning?

: a) (Your) art outlives (your) life.

: b) Life is too short for you to master any sort of art.

: c) ?

: Thanks.

: Jose Carlos

The original "Ars longa, vita brevis" is usually rendered in English "art is long, life is short." Usually. It is sometimes seen as an exhortation to aspire to create (or at least revere) great art, which will outlive us all. Shakespeare ended one of his sonnets

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

conferring immortality on the subject of the sonnet. And it worked. Shakespeare is dust; the object of his affection is dust; the poem will live forever.