HumanitiesWeb.org - Vincent van Gogh
HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
WelcomeHistoryLiteratureArtMusicPhilosophyResourcesHelp
Periods Alphabetically Nationality Topics Themes Medium Glossary
pixel

Gogh
Index
Biography
Selected Works
Quotations
Suggested Reading
Other Resources
Chronology
Related Materials

Search

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc
FEEDBACK

(C)1998-2013
All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
26 June, 2013

Vincent van Gogh
Quotations



"I certainly forsee that as I gain more of what I shall call expressive force, people will say not less but even more than they do now that I have no technique." ... "Do you really think I don't care about technique or that I don't try for it? Oh, but I do, although only inasmuch as it allows me to say what I want to say (and if I cannot do that yet, or not yet perfectly, I am working hard to improve), but I don't give a damn whether my language matches that of the rhetoricians..."
- letter Anton van Rappard, March 1884

"Art is jealous, she doesn't like taking second place an indisposition. Hence I shall humor her. … What I want and have as my aim is infernally difficult to achieve, and yet I don't think I am raising my sights to high. I want to do drawings that touch some people."
- letter to his brother Theo, 21 July 1882
 
"What I find such a pleasant surprise about painting is that you can, with the same effect you put into a drawing, take something home with you that conveys the impression much better and is much more pleasing to look at. And at the same time more accurate, too. In a word, it is more rewarding than drawing. But it is absolutely essential to be able to draw the proportions correctly and to position the objects fairly confidently before you start. If you make a mistake here, it will all come to nothing."
- letter to his brother Theo, 20 August 1882
 
"...suffering as I am, I cannot do without something greater than myself, something which is my life -- the power to create. And if, deprived of the physical power, one tries to create thoughts instead of children, one is still very much part of humanity. And in my pictures I want to say something consoling, as music does. I want to paint men and women with a touch of the eternal, whose symbol was once the halo, which we try to convey by the very radiance and vibrancy of our colouring."
- letter to his brother Theo, 3 September 1888
 
"What is drawing? How does one come to it? It is working through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. How is one to get through that wall -- since pounding at it is of no use? In my opinion one has to undermine that wall, filing through it steadily and patiently."
- letter to brother Theo, 22 October 1882
 
"I certainly forsee that as I gain more of what I shall call expressive force, people will say not less but even more than they do now that I have no technique." ... "Do you really think I don't care about technique or that I don't try for it? Oh, but I do, although only inasmuch as it allows me to say what I want to say (and if I cannot do that yet, or not yet perfectly, I am working hard to improve), but I don't give a damn whether my language matches that of the rhetoricians..."
- letter Anton van Rappard, March 1884
 
"You don't know how paralysing that is, that stare of a blank canvas, which says to the painter: you can't do a thing." ... "Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of 'you can't' once and for all."
- letter to brother Theo, October 1884
 
"Still, there is a calm, pure harmony, and music inside of me. "
- letter to his brother Theo
 
"I hope I shall be able to make some drawings in which there is something human. "
 
"Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model."
 
"It isn't an easy job to paint oneself - at any rate if it is to be different from a photograph. And you see - this, in my opinion, is the advantage that impressionism possesses over all the other things; it is not banal, and one seeks after a deeper resemblance than the photograph. "
 
"Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility. You do not know how paralyzing it is, that staring of a blank canvas which says to the painter: you don’t know anything."
 
"There is something intimate about painting I cannot explain to you-but it is so delightful just for expressing one’s feelings."
 
"I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it."
 
"My aim in life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can; then, at the end of my life... looking back with love and tender regret, and thinking, ‘Oh, the pictures I might have made!’ But this does not exclude making what is possible... "
 
"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul."
 
"I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir."
 
Personae

Terms Defined

Referenced Works