The Most Impressive Quotes by Vincent van Gogh

Last updated on Jul 29th, 2015

The Most Impressive Quotes by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March, 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands. Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest Dutch painters together with Rembrandt. He was a Post-Impressionist painter whose work has had an enormous and far-reaching influence on 20th century.

Van Gogh began painting in the late twenties. In Belgium, he began to sketch people from the local community. His first serious painting was The Potato Eaters, painted in 1885. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he discovered the French Impressionists. The full potential and unique style has achieved during his stay in Arles in 1888. After many years of struggling with mental illness, Van Gogh died in the arms of his brother from self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 37 years old.

In a very short time, Van Gogh completed more than 2,100 works, consisting of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and sketches. Several of his paintings like Irises and Portrait of Dr. Gachet rank among the most expensive in the world.

Although he is known as one of the greatest painters in the world, he was poor and unknown during his lifetime.


For myself, I declare I don’t know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Arles (July 10, 1888)


For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (October 22, 1882)


It is good to love as much as one can, for therein lies true strength, and he who loves much does much and is capable of much, and that which is done with love is well done.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Amsterdam (April 3, 1878)


I always dream a painting like that, with a group of lively figures of the pals.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Arles (September 29, 1888)


Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney and then go on their way.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (June 24, 1880)


No blue without yellow and without orange, and if you do blue, then do yellow and orange as well, surely.Letter To Emile Bernard. Arles (June 7, 1888)


The more I think about it the more I feel that there’s nothing more genuinely artistic than to love people.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Arles (September 18, 1888)


I felt my energy return and that I said to myself, in any event I’ll recover from it, I’ll pick up my pencil that I put down in my great discouragement and I’ll get back to drawing, and from then on, it seems to me, everything has changed for me.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (September 24, 1880)


I feel a certain calm. There is safety in the midst of danger. What would life be if we didn’t dare to take things in hand?Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (December 29, 1881)


It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly coloured than the day.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Arles (September 8, 1888)


The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm fearsome, but could never see that the dangers were a reason to continue strolling on the beach.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (May 16, 1882)


It is better to be fervent in spirit, even if one accordingly makes more mistakes, than narrow-minded and overly cautious.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Amsterdam (April 3, 1878)


I’m always inclined to believe that the best way of knowing God is to love a great deal.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (June 24, 1880)


The conscience is a man’s compass.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (December 18, 1882)


When we are working at a difficult task and strive after a good thing, we are fighting a righteous battle, the direct reward of which is that we are kept from much evil.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Amsterdam (May 30, 1877)


That this awareness of my own fallibility will prevent me from making many mistakes doesn’t alter the fact that I’m bound to make a great many mistakes anyway. But if we fall, we get up again!Letter To Anthon van Rappard. Etten (November 2, 1881)


And painted portraits have a life of their own that comes from deep in the soul of the painter and where the machine can’t go.Letter To Theo van Gogh, Antwerp (December 14, 1885)


I wish they’d simply accept me as I am.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (April 23, 1882)


One must work and be bold if one really wants to live.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (April 9, 1885)


Painting is a faith and that it brings with it the duty to pay no heed to public opinion — and that in it one conquers by perseverance and not by giving in.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (April 6, 1885)


But by fighting the difficulties in which one finds oneself, an inner strength develops from within our heart, which improves in life’s fight.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Amsterdam (October 30, 1877)


Love always causes trouble, that’s true, but in its favour, it energizes.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (March 9, 1884)


In life and in painting too, I can easily do without the dear Lord, but I can’t, suffering as I do, do without something greater than myself, which is my life, the power to create.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Arles (September 3, 1888)


Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but getting it onto paper is something that unfortunately doesn’t go as readily as looking.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (March 18, 1883)


A good painting should be the equivalent of a good deed.Letter To Albert Aurier. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (February 10, 1890)


If one is competent in one thing and understands one thing well, one gains at the same time insight into and knowledge of many other things into the bargain.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Amsterdam (April 3, 1878)


An artist need not be a minister or a collector in church, but he must have a warm heart for people, and I find it a noble thing that, for example, no winter passed without The Graphic doing something to keep alive sympathy for the poor.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (November 1, 1882)


For me work is an absolute necessity, indeed I can’t really drag it out, I take no more pleasure in anything than in work, that’s to say, pleasure in other things stops immediately and I become melancholy if I can’t get on with the work.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (June 3, 1883)


But on the road that I’m on I must continue; if I do nothing, if I don’t study, if I don’t keep on trying, then I’m lost, then woe betide me. That’s how I see this, to keep on, keep on, that’s what’s needed.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (June 24, 1880)


But what’s your ultimate goal, you’ll say. That goal will become clearer, will take shape slowly and surely, as the croquis becomes a sketch and the sketch a painting, as one works more seriously, as one digs deeper into the originally vague idea, the first fugitive, passing thought, unless it becomes firm.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (June 24, 1880)


You know, what makes the prison disappear is every deep, serious attachment. To be friends, to be brothers, to love; that opens the prison through sovereign power, through a most powerful spell. But he who doesn’t have that remains in death. But where sympathy springs up again, life springs up again.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Cuesmes (June 24, 1880)


To the one party, woman is always heresy and diabolical. To me, the opposite.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (October 2, 1884)


I tell you, if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (October 2, 1884)


Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas. But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy,
of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (October 2, 1884)


Let’s not forget that small emotions are the great captains of our lives, and that these we obey without knowing it.Letter To Theo van Gogh. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (July 15, 1889)


To die for the sake of dying — I prefer to die of passion than to die of boredom!Letter To Theo van Gogh. Nuenen (October 2, 1884)


If I succeed in putting some warmth and love into the work, then it will find friends. Carrying on working is the thing.Letter To Theo van Gogh. The Hague (April 2, 1883)


The sadness will last forever.According to Theo, his brother's last words.