“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
“Seek only light and freedom and do not immerse yourself too deeply in the worldly mire.”
“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all… and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough? If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream. I dream my painting and I paint my dream. It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning. Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart. Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success. Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.
I will not live without love. I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. In order to work and to become an artist one needs love. At least, one who wants sentiment in his work must in the first place feel it himself, and live with his heart. The best way to know God is to love a great deal. Nothing awakens us to the reality of life so much as a true love…
Those who love much, do much and accomplish much, and whatever is done with love is done well. Love is the best and noblest thing in the human heart, especially when it is tested by life as gold is tested by fire. Happy is he who has loved much, and although he may have wavered and doubted, he has kept that divine spark alive and returned to what was in the beginning and ever shall be.
If only one keeps loving faithfully what is truly worth loving and does not squander one’s love on trivial and insignificant and meaningless things then one will gradually obtain more light and grow stronger.
Love is eternal — the aspect may change, but not the essence. There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one’s work.
A woman does not grow old as long as she loves and is loved.
Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.
I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process. … How difficult it is to be simple!
What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. 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.
Life itself, too, is forever turning an infinitely vacant, dispiriting blank side towards man on which nothing appears, any more than it does on a blank canvas. But no matter how vacant and vain, how dead life may appear to be, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, will not be put off so easily.
The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too. To suffer without complaint is the only lesson we have to learn in this life.
Christ alone, of all the philosophers, magicians, etc., has affirmed eternal life as the most important certainty, the infinity of time, the futility of death, the necessity and purpose of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as an artist greater than all other artists, scorning marble and clay and paint, working in the living flesh. In other words, this peerless artist, scarcely conceivable with the blunt instrument of our modern, nervous and obtuse brains, made neither statues nor paintings nor books. He maintained in no uncertain terms that he made… living men, immortals.
In the fullness of artistic life there is, and remains, and will always come back at times, that homesick longing for the truly ideal life that can never come true. … Someday death will take us to another star. … Since life, in spite of everything, is like a fairytale.”
~Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life.
Quotes from The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
©Excellence Reporter 2020
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