The Most Impressive Quotes by Vincent van Gogh

Last updated on Mar 30th, 2023

The Most Impressive Quotes by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh (born March 30, 1853, in Zundert, Netherlands – died July 29, 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, France) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter considered the greatest alongside Rembrandt.

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

In a decade, Van Gogh completed about 2,100 works, including oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketches. Today 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.

Table of Contents
  1. Van Gogh Famous Quotes
  2. Van Gogh Quotes about Love
  3. Van Gogh Quotes on Art
  4. Motivational Vincent van Gogh Quotes
  5. Van Gogh Quotes on Work
  6. Van Gogh Quotes about Life and Venture
  7. Unsourced Vincent van Gogh Quotes

Van Gogh Famous Quotes

For myself, I declare I don't know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
1

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
2

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
3

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)

It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly coloured than the day. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
4

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 conscience is a man's compass. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
5

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

I wish they'd simply accept me as I am. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
6

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
7

One must work and be bold if one really wants to live.Letter to Theo van Gogh (Nuenen, April 9, 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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
8

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
9

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
10

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
11

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)

To the one party, woman is always heresy and diabolical. To me, the opposite. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
12

To the one party, woman is always heresy and diabolical. To me, the opposite.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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
13

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! - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
14

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)

The sadness will last forever. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
15

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

Van Gogh Quotes about Love

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
16

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)

The more I think about it the more I feel that there's nothing more genuinely artistic than to love people. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
17

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'm always inclined to believe that the best way of knowing God is to love a great deal. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
18

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)

Love always causes trouble, that's true, but in its favour, it energizes. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
19

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

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Van Gogh Quotes on Art

I always dream a painting like that, with a group of lively figures of the pals. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
20

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)

No blue without yellow and without orange, and if you do blue, then do yellow and orange as well, surely. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
21

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
22

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
23

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
24

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)

A good painting should be the equivalent of a good deed. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
25

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

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
26

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)

Motivational Vincent van Gogh Quotes

There is safety in the midst of danger. What would life be if we didn't dare to take things in hand? - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
27

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)

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! - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
28

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
29

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
30

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)

Van Gogh Quotes on Work

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
31

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
32

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 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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
33

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)

If I succeed in putting some warmth and love into the work, then it will find friends. Carrying on working is the thing. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
34

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)

Van Gogh Quotes about Life and Venture

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
35

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
36

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)

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
37

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. - Vincent Van Gogh Quotes
38

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)

Unsourced Vincent van Gogh Quotes

1

Normality is a paved road; it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.No source (More info)