“When I have a terrible need of—shall I say the word—religion, I go out and paint the stars.” ~ Van Gogh
More than 100 years ago, an isolated genius was born.
While the greatest Italian painters of the Renaissance era painted realistic representations of their subjects, Van Gogh introduced a new facet in art, through painting with intense brush strokes.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, the asylum was Vincent’s second home.
Through letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, we are given the chance to penetrate inside the artistic insanity of his mind.
Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters. I hold a great affinity for his work and a reverence for how he perceived things.
His unfortunate solitude gave him a deep connection with nature.
He grew sunflowers and he slept, dreaming of the stars.
He was passionate for life, art, nature and colors. His complex psychology drove him to painting landscapes with intense emotions and thoughts.
Van Gogh wanted to do something for mankind and craved recognition for what he was doing. Unfortunately, his dramatic life was a failure and he only attained his goals posthumously.
Van Gogh’s genius has been compared to Nietzsche. His words give me both heartache and an incomparable happiness and have helped me fall in love with art, colors and most importantly with his persona.
Here are some of my favorite Van Gogh quotes:
“I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
“The sunflower is mine, in a way.”
“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.”
“Looking at the stars always makes me dream.”
“Sadness lasts forever.”
“Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on Earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”
“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
“Empty chairs. There are great many of them, more will be added to their number, and sooner or later there will be nothing left… but empty chairs.”
“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”
“I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort—and disappointment and perseverance.”
“How difficult it is to be simple.”
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.”
“To suffer without complaint is the only lesson we have to learn in this life.”
“How lovely yellow is! It stands for the sun.”
“I’ll start with small things.”
“I’m such a nobody.”
“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced, but only by working.”
“I wish they would only take me as I am.”
“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.”
“Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy.”
“I never get tired of the blue sky.”
“An idler in spite of myself, sometimes people in this position do not know themselves what they might be capable of, yet they feel instinctively: I am capable of something, my existence does mean something.”
“The sun itself cannot make the world bright without souls to feel its light.”
Van Gogh was so eager to attain happiness that he once swallowed the yellow color.
He cut off his earlobe and wrapped it in a handkerchief then went to the brothel to give it to a prostitute he slept with.
Van Gogh teaches us passion and love. We can learn from him how to deeply love and how to find sanity in our madness.
He teaches us the beauty in insanity.
He teaches us how to immerse ourselves in the agony of our emotions and thoughts.
He teaches us that it’s okay to be the black sheep amongst the white ones.
Van Gogh shot himself in the chest, for he thought that he was left with nothing. On his death bed he said, “I wish it were all over now”, and so it was.
Theo, his brother, told their mother that Vincent has found the peace he never found on Earth.
Ironically, his ending was simply his beginning.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr/wikipedia, flickr/ Dennis Jarvis