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Tragic Genius: Quotes from Vincent Van Gogh

Updated on October 4, 2008

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God's help I shall succeed.

I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.

An artist needn't be a clergyman or a churchwarden, but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men.

I see more and more that my work goes infinitely better when I am properly fed, and the paints are there, and the studio and all that. But have I set my heart on my work being a success? A thousand times no. I wish I could manage to make you really understand that when you give money to artists, you are yourself doing an artist's work, and that I only want my pictures to be of such a quality that you will not be too dissatisfied with your work.

If I were to think of and dwell on disastrous possibilities, I could do nothing. I throw myself headlong into my work, and come up again with my studies; if the storm within gets too loud, I take a glass too much to stun myself.

You can't be at the pole and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be color.

I am not strictly speaking mad, for my mind is absolutely normal in the intervals, and even more so than before. But during the attacks it is terrible - and then I lose consciousness of everything. But that spurs me on to work and to seriousness, as a miner who is always in danger makes haste in what he does.

I am risking my life for my work, and half my reason has gone.

I certainly hope to sell in the course of time, but I think I shall be able to influence it most effectively by working steadily on, and that at the present moment making desperate efforts to force the work I am doing now upon the public would be pretty useless.

My opinion is that the best thing would be to work on till art lovers feel drawn toward it of their own accord, instead of having to praise or to explain it.

I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

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

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

The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.

It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.

But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.

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

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God's help I shall succeed.

Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.

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

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

I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

The way to know life is to love many things.

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

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

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.

Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy.

How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?

Wish they would only take me as I am.

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.

If you hear a voice within you saying, ''You are not a painter,'' then by all means paint... and that voice will be silenced.

By working hard, old man, I hope to make something good one day. I haven't yet, but I am pursuing it and fighting for it . . . .

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.

Vincent van Gogh   Dutch Painter, one of the greatest Post-Impressionists, (1853-1890)
Vincent van Gogh Dutch Painter, one of the greatest Post-Impressionists, (1853-1890)

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