photo of Vincent van GoghPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Vincent Van Gogh. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch: [ˈvɪnsənt ˈʋɪləm vɑŋ ˈɣɔx]; 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He was not commercially successful, and his suicide at 37 came after years of mental illness, depression and poverty.

Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet, and thoughtful. As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the two kept a long correspondence by letter. His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and local landscapes. His paintings grew brighter in colour as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily. His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor when, in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals, including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet. His depression continued, and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a Lefaucheux revolver. He died from his injuries two days later.

Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, and he was considered a madman and a failure. He became famous after his suicide and exists in the public imagination as a misunderstood genius, the artist "where discourses on madness and creativity converge". His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his painting style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists. He attained widespread critical, commercial and popular success over the ensuing decades, and he is remembered as an important but tragic painter, whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Keep going, keep going come what may.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Though I am often in the depths of misery, there still calmness, pure harmony, and music inside me.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

What a splendid thing watercolor is to express atmosphere and distance, so that the figure is surrounded by air and can breathe in it.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

For my part I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The best way to know God is to love many things.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares-and who has once broken the spell of 'you can't.'

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Bookstores always remind me that there are good things in this world.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

If the storm within gets too loud, I take a glass too much to stun myself.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

It was Richepin who said somewhere, 'The love of art means loss of real love'... True, but on the other hand, real love makes you disgusted with art.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Painting it was hard graft. There are one and a half large tubes of white in the ground -- yet that ground is very dark.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I am unable to describe exactly what is the matter with me; now and then there are horrible fits of anxiety, apparently without cause, or otherwise a feeling of emptiness and fatigue in the head.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

What is drawing? It is working oneself through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Art is jealous, and demands our whole strength ... .

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I know for sure that I have an instinct for color, and that it will come to me more and more, that painting is in the very marrow of my bones.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Only when I fall do I get up again.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Art demands constant observation.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

One begins by plaguing oneself to no purpose in order to be true to nature, and one concludes by working quietly from one's own palette alone, and then nature is the result.

--Vincent van Gogh


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I lost my job as an art salesman. It was the customer's fault. He wanted to buy the wrong paintings.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Great things do not just happen by impulse, but as a succession of small things linked together.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Both she and I have grief enough and trouble enough, but as for regrets -- neither of us have any.

--Vincent van Gogh



photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The more ugly, older, more cantankerous, more ill and poorer I become, the more I try to make amends by making my colours more vibrant, more balanced and beaming.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

My great longing is to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodellings, changes in reality, so that they may become, yes, lies if you like -- but truer than the literal truth.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I wanted to make people think of a totally different way of living from that which we, educated people, live. I would absolutely not want anyone to find it beautiful or good without a thought.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

To express hope by some star, the eagerness of a soul by a sunset radiance. Certainly there is nothing in that of stereoscopic realism, but is it not something that actually exists?

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I am a fanatic! I feel a power within me...a fire that I may not quench, but must keep ablaze.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

To try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told it in a book; another, in a picture.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

It is not only by one's impulses that one achieves greatness, but also by patiently filing away the steel wall that separates what one feels from what one is capable of doing.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Even this artistic life, which we know is not real life, appears to me to be so alive and so vital that it would be a form ingratitude not to be content with it.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I think that I still have it in my heart someday to paint a bookshop with the front yellow and pink in the evening...like a light in the midst of the darkness.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

There are colors which cause each other to shine brilliantly, which form a couple which complete each other like man and woman.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The cypresses are always occupying my thoughts.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

When we are working at a difficult task and strive after a good thing, we are fighting a righteous battle, the direct reward of which is that we are kept from much evil.

--Vincent van Gogh

Longer Version:

When we are working at a difficult task and strive after a good thing, we are fighting a righteous battle, the direct reward of which is that we are kept from much evil. As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone, except to ask for diner or coffee. And it has been like that form the beginning.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

As you can see, I am immersing myself in color-I've held back from that until now; and I don't regret it.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

But for one's health as you say, it is very necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing.

--Vincent van Gogh


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

If you end up falling in love with someone, it's because of them.  If you end up hating someone, it's because of you.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

One should arrive at leading one's conscience to a state of development so that it becomes the voice of a better and higher self, of which the ordinary self is a servant.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Purity of soul and impurity of body can go together.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Ah! My dear friend painting is to us what the music of Berlioz and Wagner was before us -- a consolatory art for sore hearts! And yet there are only a few like you and me who feel it!

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Painters understand nature and love it, and teach us to see.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

If one keeps loving faithfully what is really worth loving, and does not waste one's love on insignificant and unworthy and meaningless things, one will get more light by and by and grow stronger.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Everyone who works with love and with intelligence finds in the very sincerity of his love for nature and art a kind of armor against the opinions of other people.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Ah! Portraiture, portraiture with the thought, the soul of the model in it, that is what I think must come.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I tried to express through red and green the terrible passions of humanity.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Seeing that I am so busily occupied with myself just now, I want to try to paint my self-portrait in writing.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Describing Starry Night: Firmament and planets both disappeared, but the mighty breath which gives life to all things and in which all is bound up remained.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Exaggerate the essential, leave the obvious vague.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The lamps are burning and the starry sky is over it all.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Study, analyse the social structure -- that's always far more effective than moralising.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

One of the hardest things to do is to paint darkness which nonetheless has light in it.

--Vincent van Gogh


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Gauguin says that when sailors have to move a heavy load or raise an anchor, they all sing together to keep them up and give them vim. That's just what artists lack!

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I want to paint men and women with that something of the external which the halo used to symbolize, and which we now seek to give by the actual radiance and vibrancy of our colorings.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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.

--Vincent van Gogh

Longer Version:

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.


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I have a firm faith in art, a firm confidence in its being a powerful stream which carries a man to a harbor, though he himself must do his bit too.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

If your inner voice is telling you that you can't paint, by all means, hurry up and paint and silence the voice.

--Vincent van Gogh
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I feel the need of relations and friendship, of affection, of friendly intercourse.... I cannot miss these things without feeling, as does any other intelligent man, a void and a deep need.

--Vincent van Gogh


photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I work as diligently on my canvases as the laborers do in their fields.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

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
photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.

--Vincent van Gogh

photo of author Vincent van Gogh with quote

I am no friend of present-day Christianity, though its Founder was sublime.

--Vincent van Gogh

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