Vincent van Gogh Quotes: The 74 Most Memorable

Vincent van Gogh was one of the most accomplished artists of all time. The Dutch Post-Impressionist painter produced a staggering 2,100 artworks across a ten-year span. His collection of works includes everything from portraits and landscapes to still life and self-portraits. It’s believed he finished an astonishing 900 oil paintings during the final two years of his life. He also filled his diaries with memorable Van Gogh quotes.

Despite taking a liking to drawing as a child, Vincent van Gogh didn’t immediately set out on a career as an artist. The greatest Dutch painter of all time first worked as an art dealer. He became disillusioned with the job while working in London and turned to religion. He eventually returned home and began painting.

Vincent van Gogh was supported by his younger brother, Theo van Gogh, and moved to Paris to pursue his painting. There he met the likes of Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who helped him develop his own style.

As his output increased, so did his mental health problems. Vincent van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions. As his mental health deteriorated, so did his physical shape, as he rarely ate and turned to booze as a form of self-medication. This led to a fallout with Gauguin which saw van Gogh take a razor to his left ear, cutting part of it off.

After that episode, Vincent van Gogh was in and out of psychiatric hospitals for several years. Although his depression got worse, he continued to paint at an accelerated rate. On July 27, 1890, Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. Although he survived, an untreated infection meant he was dead some 30 hours later.

His last words were perhaps the most famous Vincent van Gogh quote. He was believed to have told his brother “the sadness will last forever,” which is rather depressing but very in tune with van Gogh’s mental state.

Similar to many tortured artists, van Gogh never sold a painting during his 37 years on the planet. He lived a life of squalor and was declared a madman by many in the art world. It wasn’t until the 20th century that his work was reevaluated and glowingly praised by critics.

Today Vincent Willem van Gogh is widely regarded as one of the great painters. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is visited by millions every year and when his paintings do go on sale, they fetch eye-watering sums of money.

While he is best known for his paintings, Vincent van Gogh kept diaries full of his thoughts and feelings on life. In these books are inspirational quotes from the famous painter. They also contain encouraging quotes, life lessons, introspective musings, and Van Gogh’s outlook on the world.

He was a man with much to say, which is why we have collected 74 of the most memorable Vincent van Gogh quotes for you to discover below.

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Art

Vincent van Gogh painting

Encyclopedia Britannica

1. “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

2. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

3. “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.”

4. “I put my heart and soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”

5. “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”

6. “It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures.”

7. “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

8. “Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.”

9. “As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward.”

10. “An artist needn’t be a clergyman or a churchwarden, but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men.”

11. “The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant color, well-arranged, resplendent.”

12. “Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”

13. “I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”

14. “The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.”

15. “What lives in art and is eternally living, is first of all the painter and then the painting.”

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

17. “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.”

18. “My sketchbook is a witness of what I am experiencing, scribbling things whenever they happen.”

19. “I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.”

20. “I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’”

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Life and Death

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Life and Death

21. “The way to know life is to love many things.”

22. “Someday death will take us to another star.”

23. “Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”

24. “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”

25. “It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”

26. “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

27. “One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”

28. “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”

29. “How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?”

30. “Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.”

31. “Only when I fall do I get up again.”

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

33. “It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning.”

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Love

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Love

Bumble Dee/Shutterstock

34. “What is done in love is done well.”

35. “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.”

36. “There is nothing truly more artistic than to love people?”

37. “I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.”

38. “One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way.”

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

40. “The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.”

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Nature

Vincent van Gogh Quotes About Nature

41. “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

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

43. “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

44. “When I have a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out and paint the stars.”

45. “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.”

46. “I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”

47. “Keep your love of nature, for that, is the true way to understand art more and more.”

48. “…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”

Other Vincent van Gogh Quotes and Sayings

Other Vincent van Gogh Quotes and Sayings

49. “I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”

50. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

51. “I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed.”

52. “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.”

53. “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

54. “I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create.”

55. “I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”

56. “Exaggerate the essential, leave the obvious vague.”

57. “I wish they would only take me as I am.”

58. “Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no, just let me be myself-and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.”

59. “I’m such a nobody.”

60. “Conscience is a man’s compass.”

61. “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

62. “The beginning is perhaps more difficult than anything else, but keep heart, it will turn out all right.”

63. “There is no such thing as an ugly woman.”

64. “If boyhood and youth are but vanity, must it not be our ambition to become men?”

65. “Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

66. “It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent.”

67. “If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.”

68. “Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

69. “I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”

70. “So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”

71. “There is peace even in the storm.”

72. “You write in your letter something which I sometimes feel also: Sometimes I do not know how I shall pull through.”

74. “The sadness will last forever.”

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