Vincent van Gogh · 509 pages
Rating: (57.8K votes)
“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”
“There is peace even in the storm”
“To suffer without complaint is the only lesson we have to learn in this life”
“Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.”
“And when I read, and really I do not read so much, only a few authors, - a few men that I discovered by accident - I do this because they look at things in a broader, milder and more affectionate way than I do, and because they know life better, so that I can learn from them.”
“Don't lose heart if it's very difficult at times, everything will come out all right and nobody can in the beginning do as he wishes.”
“Seek only light and freedom and do not immerse yourself too deeply in the worldly mire.”
“The lamps are burning and the starry sky is over it all.”
“We spent our whole lives in unconsous excercise of the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words”
“What preys on my mind is simply this one question: what am I good for, could I not be of service or use in some way?”
“We are surrounded by poetry on all sides...”
“If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it - keep going, keep going come what may.”
“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.”
“How right it is to love flowers and the greenery of pines and ivy and hawthorn hedges; they have been with us from the very beginning.”
“There is a great difference between one idler and another idler. There is someone who is an idler out of laziness and lack of character, owing to the baseness of his nature. If you like, you may take me for one of those. Then there is the other kind of idler, the idler despite himself, who is inwardly consumed by a great longing for action who does nothing because his hands are tied, because he is, so to speak, imprisoned somewhere, because he lacks what he needs to be productive, because disastrous circumstances have brought him forcibly to this end. Such a one does not always know what he can do, but he nevertheless instinctively feels, I am good for something! My existence is not without reason! I know that I could be a quite a different person! How can I be of use, how can I be of service? There is something inside me, but what can it be? He is quite another idler. If you like you may take me for one of those.”
“So what do you want? Does what happens inside show on the outside? There is such a great fire in one’s soul, and yet nobody ever comes to warm themselves there, and passersby see nothing but a little smoke coming from the top of the chimney, and go on their way.”
“The victory one would gain after a whole life of work and effort is better than one that is gained sooner.”
“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.”
“be careful not to become narrow-minded, or afraid of reading what is well written, quite the contrary, such writings are a source of comfort in life.”
“I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life, the power to create.”
“Drawing is the root of everything!”
“money can be repaid, but not kindness such as yours.”
“My great longing is to learn to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodellings, changes of reality, so that they may become, yes, untruth if you like - but more true than the literal truth.”
“Well, what shall I say; our inward thoughts, do they ever show outwardly? There may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a little bit of smoke coming through the chimney, and pass on their way.”
“There are often beams in our eye that we know not of. Let us therefore ask that our eye may become single, for then we ourselves shall become wholly single.”
“Against all expectations, the symptoms of Van Gogh’s mental illness are conspicuous by their almost complete absence from his letters. Much as he chose not to paint before he had fully recovered from one of his attacks, so he refrained from writing at times of crisis. Throughout his life, admittedly, his letters bear witness to a man possessed, frequently agitated, enraged, dejected, obsessed, but never deranged, or emotionally or intellectually unstable.”
“The world concerns me only in so far as I owe it a certain debt and duty, so to speak, because I have walked this earth for 30 years, and out of gratitude would like to leave some memento in the form of drawings and paintings—not made to please this school or that, but to express a genuine human feeling.”
“Do go on doing a lot of walking and keep up your love of nature, for that is the right way to understand art better and better. Painters understand nature and love her and teach us to see. And there are painters who never do anything that is no good...”
“If only we try to live righteously, we shall fare well, even though we are bound to encounter genuine sadness and real disappointments and shall probably commit real mistakes and do things that are wrong, but it is certainly better to be ardent in spirit, even though one makes more mistakes, than narrow-minded and overly-cautious.”
“What is drawing? How does one learn it? It is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do.”
“king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.”
“Sugar ain’t spoiled, she just a little bruised, is all. Bruises can heal and fade away to nothing.”
“But my whole body is one pain. I cannot stand on my legs anymore. I stagger. I fall back on my bed. My eyes close and fill with smarting tears. I want to be crucified on the wall, but I cannot. My body becomes heavier and heavier and filled with sharper pain. My flesh is enraged against me.
I hear voices through the wall. The next room vibrates with a distant sound, a mist of sound which scarcely comes through the wall.
I shall not be able to listen anymore, or look into the room, or hear anything distinctly. And I, who have not cried since my childhood, I cry now like a child because of all that I shall never have. I cry over lost beauty and grandeur. I love everything that I should have embraced.”
“Wouldn’t you rather play chess, Ma’am?....It’s less destructive of clothes.”
“She still remembered sitting for hours as a little girl and pretending to be a hassock. A foot stool. Because if she could just stay very small, and very quiet, her mother would forget she was there, and then she wouldn't scream about people and places and things that had gone wrong.”
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