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60 Personifying Vincent Van Gogh Quotes and Snippets from his Letters to Theo

Vincent Van Gogh quotes

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Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream,” and that struck the right chord in my mind. Van Gogh was more than an intriguing artist who gifted the world with the “Starry Night”. After hours of surfing on the internet, I discovered that Vincent Van Gogh quotes are not only a reflection of his artistic nature but also a mirror to his inner persona. Van Gogh was absorbed by his mental illness, owing to which the world lost an ingenious artist.

After the Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh quotes are my next favorite thing. Following are some of my favorite quotes by the fascinating artist of all time on at, dreams, life, books and others.

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on art:

There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

And then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?

I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.

Art is to console those who are broken by life.

We spent our whole lives in unconscious exercise of the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.

An artist needn’t be a clergyman or a church warden, but he must have a warm heart for his fellow men.

We are surrounded by poetry on all sides.

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on dreaming:

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

You can feel the stars and the infinity of the sky since life, in spite of everything, is like a dream.

I always dream a painting like that, with a group of lively figures of the pals.

The best pictures are always those one dreams of when one is smoking a pipe in bed, but which never get done.

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.

You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on life:

Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

The best way to know life is to love many things

What color is in a picture, enthusiasm is in life.

As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.

It’s better to have a gay life of it than to commit suicide.

I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life, the power to create.

The victory one would gain after a whole life of work and effort is better than one that is gained sooner.

I wanted to make people think of a totally different way of living from that which we, educated people, live. I would absolutely not want anyone to find it beautiful or good without a thought.

I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on painting:

There are two ways of reasoning about painting: how to do it and how not to do it; how to do it with great deal of drawing and not much colour, how not to do it with a great deal of colour and not much drawing.

That I was not suited to commerce or academic study in no way proves that I should also be unfit to be a painter.

One begins by plaguing oneself to no purpose in order to be true to nature, and one concludes by working quietly from one’s own palette alone, and then nature is the result.

I work as diligently on my canvases as the laborers do in their fields.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the painter who dares and who has broken the spell of ‘you can’t’ once and for all.

I hope to depart in no other way than looking back with love and wistfulness and thinking, oh paintings that I would have made.

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.

When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion, then I go out and paint the stars.

The more ugly, old, nasty, ill, and poor I become the more I want to get my own back by producing vibrant, well-arranged, radiant colour.

I’ve just kept on ceaselessly painting in order to learn painting.

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on books and reading:

It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.

So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.

I think that I still have it in my heart someday to paint a bookshop with the front yellow and pink in the evening…like a light in the midst of the darkness.

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes

And when I read, and really I do not read so much, only a few authors, – a few men that I discovered by accident – I do this because they look at things in a broader, milder and more affectionate way than I do, and because they know life better, so that I can learn from them.

Vincent Van Gogh quotes with deep meaning:

A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke

The sadness will last forever.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.

If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is a grass in the beginning.

Exaggerate the essential, leave the obvious vague.

I wish they would take me as I am.

In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.

Deep meaning

It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.

To suffer without complaint is the only lesson we have to learn in this life.

Vincent Van Gogh quotes on stars:

When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

Go out and paint the stars.

Someday death will take us to another star.

I confess I do not know why, but looking at the stars always makes me dream.

The lamps are burning and the starry sky is over it all.

I now consider myself to be at the beginning of the beginning of making something serious.

As you can see, I am immersing myself in color—I’ve held back from that until now; and I don’t regret it.

Letters to Theo

Vincent Van Gogh Quotes: Snippets from ‘Letters to Theo’

Vincent’s letters to his younger brother Theo Van Gogh is the correspondence between them. The letters contained Vincent’s thoughts and theories of art, and most importantly their lifelong friendship. Theo was an art dealer and provided Vincent with financial and emotional support, including access to influential people on the contemporary art scene.

After Vincent’s death, Theo preserved all his letters. Following are some snippets from Vincent’s “Letters to Theo”

“And when I read, and really I do not read so much, only a few authors, – a few men that I discovered by accident – I do this because they look at things in a broader, milder and more affectionate way than I do, and because they know life better, so that I can learn from them.”

“So what do you want? Does what happens inside show on the outside? There is such a great fire in one’s soul, and yet nobody ever comes to warm themselves there, and passersby see nothing but a little smoke coming from the top of the chimney, and go on their way.”

“My great longing is to learn to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodelings, changes of reality, so that they may become, yes, untruth if you like – but more true than the literal truth.”

“How much sadness there is in life. Still, it won’t do to become depressed, one should turn to other things, and the right thing is work, but there are times when one can only find peace of mind in the realization: I, too, shall not be spared by unhappiness.”

“I would sooner paint people’s eyes than cathedrals, for there is something in the eyes that is lacking in a cathedral – however solemn and impressive it may be. To my mind a man’s soul, be it that of a poor beggar or of a streetwalker, is more interesting.”

Letters to Theo

“Anyone who leads an upright life and experiences real difficulty and disappointment and yet is not crushed by them is worth more than one for whom everything has always been plain sailing and who has known nothing but relative prosperity.”

Know the Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

  1. Who was Vincent Van Gogh?

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was and continues to remain one of the most popular Post-impressionist Dutch painters. Absorbed by fits of madness and mental instability, Vincent’s inimitable forms of art inspired a new style of painting during his time.

  1. Why was he famous?

Vincent is popular for the striking color, emphatic brushwork, and contoured forms of his art and for the turmoil of his personal life. In part because of his extensive published letters, van Gogh has been mythologized in the popular imagination as the quintessential tortured artist.

  1. Was Van Gogh a successful painter during his lifetime?

Van Gogh was commercially unsuccessful during his lifetime and sold only one painting throughout his career. He was mostly looked down on due to his mental illness and became famous only after his suicide. Currently, he is remembered as a tragic painter whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist.

  1. What were some of his famous paintings?

Some of the famous paintings of Vincent were ‘Starry Night’, ‘Sunflowers’, ‘Wheatfield with Crows’.


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