van gogh quotes

40 Van Gogh Quotes: A Window into the Soul of a Genius

Vincent van Gogh, a name synonymous with artistic genius, painted a world vibrantly alive with emotions. “Van Gogh Quotes” allow us a glimpse, a deeper dive, into this brilliant mind, revealing layers that go beyond his celebrated canvases.

Who Is Vincent van Gogh?


Image source: Pinterest

Vincent van Gogh, born in the quiet town of Zundert in the Netherlands in 1853, grew to become one of the most influential figures in the history of Western art. His journey was anything but conventional. From his initial pursuits in theology and missionary work to his self-taught transition into the world of art, van Gogh showcased a relentless passion that drove his every endeavor.

Throughout his life, he was plagued with mental health struggles, leading to frequent bouts of depression and anxiety. Yet, it was during these tumultuous times that he produced some of his most iconic works, such as “Starry Night” and “The Café Terrace at Night.” Van Gogh’s letters, especially those to his brother Theo, provide a profound insight into his thoughts, aspirations, and the challenges he faced.

His artistic career, spanning just over a decade, was marked by rapid evolution in style and technique. Starting with somber tones and subjects in his early works, he moved to the vivid and bold colors of his French period, which later became his signature style. Despite the brevity of his career and facing constant criticism and financial hardships, Van Gogh left behind a legacy of over 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings.

Tragically, the genius of Vincent van Gogh was recognized posthumously. He died in 1890, at the age of 37, with his art beginning to gain acclaim only years after his passing. Today, he stands as a testament to the idea that true brilliance often goes unnoticed in its time but leaves an indelible mark on the world.

Quotes about Life

  • “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
  • “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
  • “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
  • “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
  • “Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.”

Vincent van Gogh’s musings on life encapsulate a whirlwind of emotions and insights. Through his words, we witness the artist’s ongoing dance between dreams and reality. Each quote seems to be a brushstroke that colors his canvas of existence.

From celebrating the minuscule joys to challenging the notions of conformity, van Gogh painted a life rich in emotions and experiences. His perspective, while acknowledging the challenges, always leaned towards the beauty and potential embedded in living. The paved road quote, in particular, is a poetic ode to the joys of the unbeaten path, advocating for a life less ordinary.

Quotes about Nature’s Beauty and Pain


Image source: Pinterest

  • “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
  • “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”
  • “The sunflower is mine, in a way.”
  • “There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”
  • “Nature always begins the same, and always ends somewhere.”

Nature was to van Gogh what a beloved is to a poet. His relationship with the environment around him was deeply intimate. He saw the universe not just in its vast expanse but in every leaf, every star, and every shadow. The nocturnal allure of the night, the vibrancy of sunflowers, the symbiotic relationship between colors — each observation reveals an artist deeply in tune with the natural world.

His quotes convey an appreciation that goes beyond the mere aesthetic. For van Gogh, nature was an entity alive with stories, emotions, and lessons. The intertwined beauty and pain he saw in nature, such as the fleeting beauty of sunflowers or the deep mysteries of the night, reflected his own inner emotional landscape.

Quotes about Art

  • “Art is to console those who are broken by life.”
  • “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”
  • “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
  • “In a painting, I’d like to say something comforting, as music is comforting.”
  • “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.”

Van Gogh’s relationship with art was one of depth, passion, and therapy. To him, art was not merely a medium of expression but a realm of solace and reflection. The sentiment that art exists to console those fractured by life’s trials suggests that he viewed his work as a refuge not only for himself but for others.

His insatiable quest for artistic excellence is evident in his words about seeking and striving. Van Gogh’s art was an all-consuming passion, a lifeline that kept him tethered amidst personal turmoil.

Through his quotes, we see the importance of finding a purposeful and passionate pursuit in life, as echoed in his aversion to a life of monotony. The comparisons he draws between art and music, or art and good deeds, underline his belief in art’s ethereal and moral dimensions.

Quotes about the Emotional Landscape


Image source: Pinterest

  • “There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
  • “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
  • “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
  • “Emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it.”
  • “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”

Emotions were the lifeblood of Van Gogh’s existence and artistry. His emotional expanse ranged from soaring heights of elation to the deepest troughs of despair. In his quotes, we witness an artist deeply attuned to his emotions and the world around him. The repeated sentiment about the artistry in loving people emphasizes his belief in the transformative and creative power of love.

To Van Gogh, courage wasn’t just a virtue; it was a necessary component of a life truly lived. The intersection of emotion and work in his quotes highlights his innate ability to channel even the most overpowering feelings into his art.

Through his words, we’re reminded of the importance of embracing our emotional spectrum, daring to step beyond our comfort zones, and harnessing our feelings as a source of strength and inspiration.

Quotes about Passion and Persistence

  • “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”
  • “Success is sometimes the outcome of a whole string of failures.”
  • “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
  • “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”
  • “There’s nothing more stimulating than a case of impossibility.”

Van Gogh’s journey in art, marked by unyielding passion and unwavering determination, serves as a testament to the power of human spirit and resilience. His quotes encapsulate his approach to challenges — not as setbacks, but as stepping stones towards mastery.

The poignant admission of pouring his heart, soul, and even sanity into his art underscores the depth of his dedication. Van Gogh’s perspective on success and failure also offers a refreshing outlook: that failures are not terminal, but transitional phases leading up to success.

His encouragement to defy the inner critic, to pursue what seems daunting, and to continuously challenge oneself reveals an individual who believed in growth, learning, and the transformative power of perseverance.

Quotes about Love


Image source: Pinterest

  • “Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy.”
  • “The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.”
  • “There is nothing greater than two people loving each other.”
  • “Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much and can accomplish much.”
  • “Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.”

Van Gogh’s ruminations on love reveal a soul deeply connected to the essence of human relationships. His perception of love is multifaceted — it’s a source of energy, a pinnacle of artistic expression, and an eternal force.

Despite acknowledging the complexities love introduces, he continually emphasizes its rejuvenating and invigorating nature. His belief in the strength derived from love not only refers to romantic attachments but to love in a broader sense — for people, for passions, and for life itself.

The eternal nature of love, as Van Gogh describes, transcends the superficial and temporal. His words serve as a reminder that while the dynamics of love might shift with time, its core essence remains unaltered and ever-enduring.

Quotes about Human Connections and Solitude

  • “The way to know life is to love many things.”
  • “I wish they would only take me as I am.”
  • “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”
  • “Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.”
  • “I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”

The complexity of Van Gogh’s relationships with others and with himself resonates deeply in his quotes. He believed that the richness of life is drawn from the connections we foster, not just with others, but also with the world around us.

His desire for acceptance, as captured in his wish to be taken as he is, touches on the universal human yearning to be understood and appreciated in our most authentic form. Friendship, for Van Gogh, wasn’t just about camaraderie; it was a profound connection that could offer clarity and insight into one’s own soul.

At the same time, his reflections on solitude and self-sufficiency, as expressed through his reliance on nature, art, and poetry, depict a man who found solace and meaning in the embrace of his own company and the larger universe.

Quotes about Contemplating Mortality and Eternity


Image source: Pinterest

  • “Conscience is a man’s compass.”
  • “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.”
  • “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.”
  • “I hope to depart in no other way than looking back with love and wistfulness and thinking, ‘Oh paintings that I would have made.’!”
  • “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Van Gogh’s introspections on mortality and the concept of eternity serve as profound reflections on the human condition. His quotes elucidate the intricate dance between the ephemeral nature of life and the lasting impact of one’s deeds and creations. The mention of his paintings not selling in his time, yet holding immense intrinsic value, speaks to the timeless essence of true art and its enduring resonance across ages.

His ruminations on death aren’t filled with fear but with acceptance and a sense of duty fulfilled. This acceptance is further deepened by his aspiration to leave the world with thoughts of unrealized creations, capturing the undying spirit of an artist.

The final quote, while not a direct reflection on mortality, is a powerful statement on human potential, encouraging us to recognize and embrace our innate power and the boundless possibilities within.


In delving into the profound world of Van Gogh’s quotes, we encounter the soul of a genius, vividly expressed through words. His reflections on life, art, love, and existence provide timeless insights, urging us to see beauty in every facet of life and to cherish our own authentic journeys.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.