Few artists can claim to have had as profound an impact on the development of modern art as Vincent van Gogh. In a relatively short career that spanned just over a decade, van Gogh produced some of the most iconic images in the history of art. His distinctive style and use of color set him apart from his contemporaries, and his subjects ranged from portraits of friends and family members to landscapes and still lifes.

In addition to his paintings, van Gogh was also a prolific writer, frequently sending letters to his brother Theo in which he discussed his artistic process and the state of his mental health. These letters provide a unique insight into van Gogh’s thoughts and feelings, and they offer a rare glimpse into the mind of a truly great artist. To celebrate the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite quotes from the artist himself. We hope you enjoy it!

“Love always causes trouble, that’s true, but in its Favour, it energizes.” – Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

 “Seek only light and freedom and do not immerse yourself too deeply in the worldly mire.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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 wish.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is grass in the beginning.” – Vincent van Gogh

 “I hope to depart in no other way than looking back with love and wistfulness and thinking, oh paintings that I would have made..”– Vincent van Gogh

“I confess I do not know why, but looking at the stars always makes me dream.”– Vincent van Gogh

 “I take great care of myself by carefully shutting myself away.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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?”– Vincent van Gogh

“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.”– Vincent van Gogh

“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion.  Then I go out and paint the stars.”– Vincent van Gogh

“So let us go forward, quietly, each on his own path, forever making for the light.”– Vincent van Gogh

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

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

“As a suffering creature, I cannot do without something greater than I – something that is my life – the power to create.” – Vincent van Gogh

“But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I do not know myself how I paint it. I sit down with a white board before the spot that strikes me. I look at what is before my eyes, and say to myself, that white board must become something.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I believe that one thinks much more soundly if the thoughts arise from direct contact with things, than if one looks at things with the aim of finding this or that in them.”  – Vincent van Gogh

“Suffice it to say that black and white are also colours… for their simultaneous contrast is as striking as that of green and red, for instance.” – Vincent van Gogh

“As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.” – Vincent van Gogh

“Drawing is the root of everything, and the time spent on that is actually all profit.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I assure you that there’s a lot involved in compositions with figures. … It’s like weaving… you must control and keep an eye on several things at once.”– Vincent van Gogh

“As you can see, I am immersing myself in colour—I’ve held back from that until now; and I don’t regret it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I now consider myself to be at the beginning of the beginning of making something serious.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day.”– Vincent van Gogh

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”– Vincent van Gogh

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent van Gogh

“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”– Vincent van Gogh

 “You write in your letter something which I sometimes feel also: Sometimes I do not know how I shall pull through.” – Vincent van Gogh

 “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.”– Vincent van Gogh

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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“If boyhood and youth are but vanity, must it not be our ambition to become men?”– Vincent van Gogh

“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 am, which is my life, the power to create.”– Vincent van Gogh

“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

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

“I wish they would only take me as I am.”– Vincent van Gogh

“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”– Vincent van Gogh

“For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent van Gogh

“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”– Vincent van Gogh

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”– Vincent van Gogh

“How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?”– Vincent van Gogh

“I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent van Gogh

 “I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“An artist needn’t be a clergyman or a churchwarden, but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”– Vincent van Gogh

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.”– Vincent van Gogh

“It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”– Vincent van Gogh

“The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out all right.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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”– Vincent van Gogh

“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”– Vincent van Gogh

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

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.”– Vincent van Gogh

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”― Vincent Van Gogh

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.”– Vincent van Gogh

“So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.” – Vincent van Gogh

“The more I become decomposed, the more sick and fragile I am, the more I become an artist.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I believe that one thinks much more soundly if the thoughts arise from direct contact with things, than if one looks at things with the aim of finding this or that in them.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I am crazy about two colours: carmine and cobalt. Cobalt is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for creating atmosphere. Carmine is as warm and lively as wine… the same with emerald green.”– Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I haven’t got it yet, but I’m hunting it and fighting for it, I want something serious, something fresh—something with soul in it! Onward, onward.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. And great things are not accidental, but must certainly be willed.”– Vincent van Gogh

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”– Vincent van Gogh

“As a suffering creature, I cannot do without something greater than I – something that is my life – the power to create.” – Vincent van Gogh

“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”– Vincent van Gogh

“When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”– Vincent van Gogh

“I do not know myself how I paint it. I sit down with a white board before the spot that strikes me. I look at what is before my eyes, and say to myself, that white board must become something.”– Vincent van Gogh

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

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.” – Vincent van Gogh

“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.”– Vincent van Gogh

“But you must love with a high, serious intimate sympathy, with a will, with intelligence, and you must always seek to know more thoroughly, better, and more.”– Vincent van Gogh

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