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He thought of himself as a prophet then. And also a thinker ... Letters: hundreds of them. Mostly to his brother Theo: you’ll see that intelligence bubbling away. Simon Schama’s Power of Art: Van Gogh, BBC 2006
He appointed himself as a missionary to the destitute ... What he wanted to be was a preacher. ibid.
Art would succeed where the Church had failed. ibid.
The Potato Eaters is his first knockout masterpiece. It’s a resume of everything he has felt and thought up to now. ibid.
Van Gogh’s version of nature would always be earthier, clumsier, smellier, truer. ibid.
A great ejaculation of emotional energy ... of paint. ibid.
At the heart of all the greatest pictures from this prolific summer is the opposition between barren and fruitful worlds. Between comradeship and loneliness: welcome to The Night Cafe. ibid.
Not mad exactly but suffering. Vincent was an epileptic and struggled with deepening bouts of depression, made worse no doubt by the relentless bad news from Theo that still nobody wanted to buy his pictures. ibid.
He is translating mental upheaval into a revolution on the canvas. ibid.
They are anything but deranged: they are unflinching, tumultuous, heroic, and completely new. And here’s the most startling of them all: Wheat Field With Crows. ibid.
Vincent van Gogh creates modern art. ibid.
Theo held him as he died on the 29th July 1890. Gone. At the moment his entire life had been vindicated. ibid.
Vincent’s passionate belief was that people wouldn’t just see his pictures, but feel the rush of life in them. That by the force of his brush and the dazzlement of his colour they’d experience those fields, those faces, those flowers in ways nothing more polite or literal could ever possibly convey. His art would reclaim what had once belonged to Religion: consolation for our mortality through the relish of the gift of Life. ibid.
It was Vincent van Gogh who’d reach most feverishly towards an even more radiant redemptive in paint. Simon Schama, Civilisations 1e7: Radiance, BBC 2018
To me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all; certainly the most popular great painter of all time. The most beloved; his command of colour, the most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world ... No-one had ever done it before. Perhaps no-one ever will again. To my mind that strange wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived. Richard Curtis, Dr Black in Vincent and the Doctor
A good picture is equivalent to a good deed. Vincent van Gogh
But what can you do? Vincent van Gogh, last words of unfinished letter
Dear Brother and Sister, I still continue to feel the storm that threatens you weighing on me too. You see, I try to be genuinely cheerful. But my life is also threatened at the very root. And my steps are wavering. Vincent van Gogh
Dear Theo ... I think Gauguin is a little disenchanted with me. Vincent van Gogh
Dear Theo ... It just won’t do for us to think that I am completely sane. Vincent van Gogh
Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model. Vincent van Gogh
Do you know what makes the prison disappear? Every deep, genuine affection. Being friends, being brothers, loving, that is what opens the prison, with supreme power, by some magic force. Without these one stays dead. But whenever affection is revived, there life revives. Vincent van Gogh, letter to brother Theo
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
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me want to dream. Vincent van Gogh
I am good for something! Vincent van Gogh
I am in a fury of work because the trees are all in blossom. Vincent van Gough, to brother Theo
I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell. Nevertheless the time will come when people will see that they are worth more than the price of the paint. Vincent van Gogh, letter to brother Theo 20th October 1888
I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream. Vincent van Gogh
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. Vincent van Gogh
If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you, if the simplest things of Nature have a message that you understand, rejoice – for your soul is alive. Vincent van Gogh
I heard at Etten that you’d sent me fifty Francs. Well I’ve accepted them with reluctance of course but I’m in trouble and what else can I do? And so I’m writing to thank you. Vincent van Gogh, letter to brother Theo 155
I have often neglected my appearance. I admit it, and I also admit that it is ‘shocking’. But look here, lack of money and poverty have something to do with it too, as well as a profound disillusionment, and besides, it is sometimes a good way of ensuring the solitude you need, of concentrating more or less on whatever study you are immersed in. Vincent van Gogh
I must continue to follow the path I take now. If I do nothing, if I study nothing, 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.
But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought. Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo July 1880
I’m such a nobody. Vincent van Gogh
In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and scepticism and humbug and we shall want to live more musically. Vincent van Gogh
I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process. Vincent van Gogh
I risk my life for my own work, but my reasons half-foundered in it. Vincent van Gogh, unfinished letter to brother Theo
I shouldn’t precisely have chosen madness if there had been any choice, but once such a thing has taken hold of you, you can’t very well get out of it. Vincent van Gogh
I tell you, if one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of going wrong, one must not be afraid of making mistakes now and then. Many people think that they will become good just by doing no harm – but that's a lie, and you yourself used to call it that. That way lies stagnation, mediocrity. Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo October 1884
It’s very difficult to know yourself. But it’s also very difficult to paint yourself. Vincent van Gough
I wish they would take me as I am. Vincent van Gogh
I work as diligently on my canvases as the labourers do in their fields. Vincent van Gogh