Vincent van Gogh: Famous phrases and quotes




Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Vincent Willem van Gogh (Post-Impressionist painter)

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« When I feel a need for religion, I go out at night and paint the stars. »

« It is good to love as much as possible, because that is where the real strength lies, and the one who loves loves doing great things and feels capable, and what is done out of love is well done. »

« The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm is terrible. But that does not stop them from going to sea. »


vincent-van-gogh-paintings-starry-night-museum-artwork-phrases-quotes-canvas-Potato-eaters-1885
Potato eaters, (1885)

« If we perfect ourselves in one thing and understand it well, we acquire in addition the understanding and knowledge of many other things. »

« I dream of painting and then I paint my dreams. »

« Let's not forget that small emotions are the captains of our lives and we obey them without even realizing it. »


vincent-van-gogh-paintings-starry-night-museum-artwork-phrases-quotes-canvas-The-plain-of-La-Crau-near-Arles-1888
The plain of La Crau near Arles, (1888)

« It is better to be daring even if many mistakes are made than to be narrow minded and too cautious. »

« Of course, for art, where you need time, it would not be bad to live more than one life. »

« Consciousness is the human compass. »


vincent-van-gogh-paintings-starry-night-museum-artwork-phrases-quotes-canvas-Japonaiserie-Plum-in-bloom-1887
Japonaiserie-Plum in bloom, (1887)






« What would life be if we did not have the courage to try new things? »

« How much beauty in art, in order to retain what has been seen. You are never then without work or truly lonely, never alone. »

« Art is man added to nature. »


vincent-van-gogh-paintings-starry-night-museum-artwork-phrases-quotes-canvas-Sower-at-sunset-1888
Sower at sunset, (1888)

« Find beauty as much as you can; most do not find anything beautiful enough. »

« I am very sad and I feel more miserable than I can say, and I do not know how far I have come ... I do not know what to do or what to think, but I want to leave this place vehemently ... I feel so melancholy. »

« If you hear a voice inside you saying "you can not paint," he paints, it would be more! and the voice will be silent. »



Red vineyard, (1888)

« Poetry is everywhere, but taking it to paper is, unfortunately, more complicated than seeing it. »

« Suffering without complaining is the only lesson we must learn in this life. »

Letter to his brother Theo: « Have you followed my advice? Have you separated from the books of Jules Michelet, Ernest Renan, etc.? Read all that if you can. Changing foods stimulates the appetite. »



Starry night over the Rhône, (1888)






« I have ... A terrible need ... Will I say the word? ... Of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars. »

« A good image is equivalent to a good action. »

« Working hard, old man, I hope to do something good one day. I do not do it yet, but I chase and fight. »



The sunflowers, (1888)

« Consciousness is the compass of man. »

« Do not muffle your inspiration and imagination, do not become the slave of your model. »

« Even the knowledge of my mistakes can not keep me free of errors. Only when I fall I get up again. »



Silla de Gauguin, (1888)

« For me, work is an absolute necessity, I can not leave it out of my life. »

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

« I am not an adventurer by choice, but by destiny. »



Sower with the setting sun, (1888)






« What is the drawing? How can you learn? It is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. »

« I consciously chose the dog's path through life. I'm going to be poor. I'm going to be a painter. »

« I dream my paintings and then I paint a dream. »



Van Gogh chair, (1888)

« I think there's nothing more artistic than truly loving people. »

« I often think that the night is more alive and richer in color than the day. »

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



Coffee terrace at night, (1888)

« It is better to have a lot of spirit, even if a greater number of mistakes are made, than to be narrow-minded and prudent for everyone. »

« It is not the language of painters, but the language of nature that one should listen to ... The proper feeling of things, in reality, is more important than the feeling that an image transmits. »

« Keep your love towards nature, because it is the true way to understand art more and more. »



Van Gogh's room in Arles, (1888)






Letter to his brother Theo: «I often feel the same feeling, not only financially, but in my art and my life in general. But do you think it's something exceptional? Do not you think that every man with a little spirit and energy has those moments? Moments of melancholy, of anguish, to a greater or lesser extent and I believe that they are moments of every conscious person. It seems that some people are not aware of themselves. »

« Love always brings difficulties, it is true, but it gives energy. »

« In love lies strength and anyone who loves a lot, does a lot and can achieve a lot, because that makes love. »



Bridge of Langlois with washerwomen, (1888)

« Sometimes it is convenient to go to the world and frequent men, because one feels compelled and called there, but the one who prefers to remain alone and quietly in the work and only wants to have very few friends, is the one who circulates with more security among men and the world. »

« The paintings have a life of their own that is born from the soul of the painter. »

« I have 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. »



The yellow house, (1888)

« What would be of life, if we did not have the courage to try something new? »

« Do you know what makes the jail disappear? Every genuine and deep affection. Being a friend, brother, lover, is what frees us from prison. Without these affections, one is dead. But each time these affections are revived, life is reborn. »

« I can not change the fact that my paintings are not sold. However, time will make people recognize that my paintings are worth more than the value of the paintings used in it. »



Landscape with house and labrador, (1889)






« If one stays faithful lover of what is really worth loving, and not an insignificant residue of love and unworthy and meaningless things, he will get more happiness and grow stronger. »

« It is necessary to have loved, then to lose love and then to love again. »

« He who lives sincerely and finds true sorrows and disappointments, who is not let down by them, is worth more than the one who always has the stern wind and who only knows a relative prosperity. »



Wheat field with cypresses, (1889)

« If you continue loving sincerely what is truly worthy of love and love is not wasted in insignificant and null and insipid things, little by little, more light will be achieved and you will become stronger. »

« You can have, in the deepest part of the soul, a warm heart, and yet, nobody can come to him. »

« There is in almost every man a poet who died young and to which the man survived. »



Lilies, (1889)

« Draw is to fight to cross an invisible iron wall that seems to rise between what you feel and what you are capable of doing. »

« Only in front of the easel painting do I feel a little life. »

« Never have to let off the fire of your soul, but revive it. »



Self-portrait with bandaged ear, (1889)






« I prefer not to eat at noon for six months and thus do economics. »

« Art is a combat. In art it is necessary to play the skin. »

« It is an admirable thing to look at an object and find it beautiful, to reflect on it, to hold it back and say it immediately: I am going to start drawing it. »



The starry Night, (1889)

« I am outside at 4 in the morning, because it is difficult to be on the street during the day because of the passers-by. »

« To get to the truth you need to work long and long. »

« It seems absurd to me that men want to look like something other than what they are. »



Autorretrato, (1889)

« There are things in the color that come up in me as I paint, big and intense things. »

« I see in my work an echo of what is in nature. Nature has spoken to me, it has told me something and I have written it down in this stenography. »

« Precisely because I am looking for a true friendship, it is so difficult for me to resign myself to a conventional friendship. »



City Council of Auvers on July 14, (1890)






« I have been so immersed in painting that I have literally forgotten to eat and drink. »

« Suffering is what leads artists to express themselves with greater energy. »

« At times I feel a storm of desire to embrace something, even a woman of the kind of cheap whore. »



Almond Blossom, (1890)

« His brush is at the service of his spirit. »

« You are not on earth to have fun, you do not need to live better than others. »

« I believe more and more that there is no need to judge God for this world, it is a study of his that went wrong. »



El Doctor Paul Gachet, (1890)

« For art, it would not be bad to live more than one life. »

« Work by necessity, not to suffer these torments. »

« I always hope to find something in there, in the study of color. »



Wheat field with crows, (1890)






« To arrive at a day however, in which it will be seen that this is worth more than the price that paintings and my life cost. »

« I, for my part, am determined to have no more weapons than my brush and pen. »

Letter to his brother Theo: « All my days are not lucid enough to write you with a certain logic. »



Round of the prisoners, (1890)

« Great things are made by a series of little things gathered together. »

« Love many things, because in love there is true strength and who loves a lot will achieve a lot, and what is done with love, is well done. »

« It seems that there were two people in him, one wonderfully gifted, delicate and tender, and the other egocentric and ruthless. »



La iglesia de Auvers, (1890)

« I now seek to exaggerate the essential. I do not want to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, but I arbitrarily use color to express myself more strongly. »

« The cypresses always worry me (...) I am surprised that nobody has painted them yet as I see them. In terms of lines and proportions a cypress is beautiful as an Egyptian obelisk. »

« Well, my job; I risk my life in him, and my reason has sunk in him halfway. »








« They leave without stopping, one after the other, some fabrics that I paint very quickly, but which are carefully calculated in advance. So, when they tell you that they are done very quickly, you can answer that they are the ones who have looked too fast. »

« I have absolute faith in art. », Vincent van Gogh




Recommended Book


Meet Vincent van Gogh, the tortured genius of 19th-century art. This lush tome collects all his 871 paintings, alongside writings and essays, charting the life and work which continues to tower over art to this day. From Sunflowers, The Starry Night, to Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear: celebrate an artist uniquely dexterous in the representation of texture and mood, light and place.


Author: Rainer Metzger, Ingo F. Walther
Hardcover, 20.8 x 27.4 cm, 740 pages

Affiliates TASCHEN






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