Van Gogh

Selections from Van Gogh’s Diary


You will say perhaps s that I am boring you with all this; that you will go to brothels and that you don’t care a damn about the rest. Well, that depends, but anyways, it doesn’t alter what I have to say. Art is long and life is short and we must be patient while we are trying to sell our skin.  September 1888


Meanwhile I devour nature ceaselessly. I exaggerate, sometimes I make changes in he subjects but still I don’t invent the whole picture. On the contrary, I find it already there. It is a question of picking out what one wants from nature.  October 1888


But the consolation in the Bible which distresses us and yet relieves our despair and our indignation – it really does hurt us and outrages us by its pettiness and contagious madness – the consolation that it contains, like a kernel inside a hard shell, a bitter pulp – is Christ….  Christ alone of all the philosophers and magicians etc took as his principle there the certainly of eternal life, the endlessness of time, the nothingness of death, the need for and the justification of calmness and devotion.  He lived a serene life and was the greatest artist of all, distaining marble, clay or color, working with living flesh.  That is to say that this unbelievable artist, one who is scarcely conceivable to such an obtuse instrument as the modern neurotic, worn out brain, made neither statues, nor pictures nor books, indeed He said clearly enough what he was doing – fashioning living men, immortal beings.  And that is serious, the more so because it is true. Such consideration as these, my dear Emile Bernard, take us a long way, a very long way – they raise us even above art. They enable us to catch a glimpse of the art of creating life, the art of living immortally.    Arles   June 1888


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