There’s much to know about Vincent Van Gogh; born in the Dutch town of Zundert in 1853 to an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh is considered one of the most influential figures in the entire history of Western art. 

Though deeply troubled, there was no doubting Van Gogh’s misunderstood genius. Despite struggling for money and critical acclaim when alive, following his tragic suicide, he became one of the most famous painters of all time. 

Given his creativity and inner struggles, it’s no wonder that as well the many amazing Vincent Van Gogh artworks, the esteemed painter also left us with some great quotes. To celebrate his genius, the Canvas Art Rocks team have compiled our top 5 Vincent Van Gogh quotes below.

“There may be a great fire in our hearts, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

This quote is perhaps an insight into Vincent Van Gogh’s yearning for companionship and his overriding feeling of being misunderstood. 

Van Gogh was considered a bit of an outsider, and aside from the regular correspondence and support of his younger brother Theo, he led a fairly lonely and isolated life. It would suggest that Van Gogh felt he had a lot to offer, and a great yearning to do so, yet nobody would get close enough to him to experience his warmth. 

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

This telling quote gives a glimpse into the perils of Van Gogh’s painting. Of course, fishing out at sea - however dangerous - is a fisherman’s vocation, means of income and often a passion too. 

Van Gogh appeared to see his painting in the same light, he knew it was dangerous for his well-being, his struggles with money and mental illness were well-documented, yet he felt compelled to continue and earn his living by creating artwork. 

“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.”

Vincent Van Gogh came from a religious background, his father was a minister and he also underwent training himself and was a pastor to a small mining village in Belgium for around 2 years. 

His relationship with God was a complicated one; what’s clear is that Van Gogh knew he was struggling but recognised that art and his creativity was a medium of expression and release than he couldn’t live without. 

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

Van Gogh struggled to establish his art and find his place during a relatively short but eventful life. With this struggle, clearly came a crippling feeling of self-doubt and inner turmoil, something which was most likely not helped by Van Gogh’s long battle with mental illness. 

Though Van Gogh’s art did not see much success during the painter’s lifetime, history serves to show that he was right to ignore the voices in his head and continue to paint what would become some of the most famous and genre-defining artwork of all time.

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

Vincent Van Gogh may have been alluding that he saw art and beauty where most would see dirt and poverty, choosing to focus on the human element of his subject. 

Van Gogh was known to have been a ‘poverty painter’ during a period of his art, capturing many farmers and labourers on canvas at every opportunity, it seems he believed that art is everywhere and for everyone. 

For more insightful quotes, creative artwork and informative guides, check out our blog here at Canvas Art Rocks!