As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 in the Netherlands. He was a Dutch post-impressionist painter, and generally considered to be one of the greatest painters that’s ever lived. A man who struggled with mental illness through his short life, he never witnessed the fame or wealth that some of his other contemporaries received. And it was only years after his death, that his true genius was really known to the world. These quotes give a glimpse into the mind of Vincent Van Gogh. He was a very complicated man who was passionate about his work, and grappled with what he thought were his limitations. Van Gogh valued friendship and love. He fought his demons with his brushstrokes and left his soul on the canvas to inspire future generations.
Our Favorite Van Gogh Quotes
- “Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy.”
- “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”
- “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”
- “Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”
- “The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out all right.”
- “Exaggerate the essential, leave the obvious vague.”
- “At present this horror of life is already less pronounced, and the melancholy less acute. But I still have no will, and hardly any desires, or none at all that are to do with ordinary life.”
- “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.”
- “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day.”
- “In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”
- “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 shed.”
- “I am working with the enthusiasm of a man from Marseilles eating bouillabaisse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you because I am busy painting huge sunflowers.”
- “Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me.”
- “It is good to 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 well done.”
- “How much there is in art that is beautiful, if only one can remember what one has seen, one is never empty or truly lonely, and never alone.”
- “If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.”
- “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
- “Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life itself seems almost enchanted after all.”
- “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
- “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.”
- “And the memories of all we have loved stay and come back to us in the evening of our life. They are not dead but sleep, and it is well to gather a treasure of them.”
- “It must be good to die in the knowledge that one has done some truthful work…and to know that, as a result, one will live on in the memory of at least a few and leave a good example for those who come after.”
- “I experience 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”
- “I would sooner paint people’s eyes than cathedrals, for there is something in the eyes that is lacking in a cathedral – however solemn and impressive it may be. To my mind a man’s soul, be it that of a poor beggar or of a streetwalker, is more interesting.”
- “I consciously choose the dog’s path through life. I shall be poor; I shall be a painter…”
- “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
- “It always strikes me, and it is very peculiar, that when we see the image of indescribable and unutterable desolation – of loneliness, of poverty and misery, the end of all things, or their extreme – then rises in our mind the thought of God.”
- “As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”
- “Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”
- “I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”
- “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.”
- “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 keep hoping that I’ll come up with something. To express the love of two lovers by the marriage of two complementary colours, their blending and their contrast, the mysterious vibrations of related tones. To express that thought of a brow by the radiance of a light tone against a dark background. To express hope by some star. Someone’s passion by the radiance of the setting sun.”
- “Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no—just let me be myself—and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.”
- “If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is a grass in the beginning.”
- “How can I be useful; of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?”
- “Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.”
- “I wish they would only take me as I am.”
- “One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.”
- “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…”
- “The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others”
- “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
- “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
- “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.”
- “Yellow is capable of charming God.”
- “When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”
- “If boyhood and youth are but vanity, must it not be our ambition to become men?”
- “It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”
Vincent Van Gogh Video -The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
This is a fascinating short video that discusses how Van Gogh used math in his approach to Starry Night – one of his most famous works. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work. Definitely worth a watch!
Use these Van Gogh quotes to inspire your day!
Although Vincent Van Gogh was a painter, his words are profound and inspire almost as much as his famous paintings. Although he was a man plagued with mental illness, he sought out beauty in the world and spoke of love often. Close friendships were important to him.
Vincent loved life, despite all the pain it brought him. Often, we get caught up in the madness of the world and the barrage of information thrown at us daily. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to take a step back, and refocus on what’s important, and find the beauty in even, “the poorest of huts, and the dirtiest of corners.”
Pick your favorite inspiring quote from the list above and write it down to inspire you today!
PS – If you like these quotes about Van Gogh, be sure to see Salvador Dali Quotes – he was quite the character!