Vincent Willem van Gogh (born 30 March 1853, Zundert, Netherlands – died 29 July 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, France) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life. The striking colour, emphatic brushwork, and contoured forms of his work powerfully influenced the current of Expressionism in modern art. Vincent Van Gogh received little acclaim during his life and his paintings were appreciated posthumously.
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. I dream my painting and I paint my dream. If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all. If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. 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. I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream. 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 often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart. Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it. Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion. 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. Conscience is a man’s compass. 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. A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke. I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove. But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things. An artist needn’t be a clergyman or a churchwarden, but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men. Art is to console those who are broken by life. I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word -religion. Then I go out and paint the stars. -Vincent Van Gogh A mistake is simply another way of doing things. 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. It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning. Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it. What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough? 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 would rather die of passion than of boredom. A good picture is equivalent to a good deed. I consciously choose the dog’s path through life. I shall be poor; I shall be a painter… The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke. The sadness will last forever. 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. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I wish they would only take me as I am. Find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful. 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. Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model. It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. 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. I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’. 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. It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful. In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.