Vincent Van Gogh on Art and Painting
" It is not emotion, the sincerity of one's feeling for nature, that draws us, and if emotions are sometimes so strong that one works without knowing one works, when sometimes the strokes come with a sequence and a coherence like words in a speech or a letter, then one must remember that it has not always been so, and that in the time to come there will again be heavy days, empty of inspiration. "
" Taking if you like the time in which we live as a great and true renaissance of art, the worm-eaten official tradition still alive but really impotent and inactive, the new painters alone, poor, treated like madmen and because of this treatment actually becoming so at least as far as their social life is concerned. "
Vincent Van Gogh: Marrying of Form and Color
" Why does one not hold to what one has, like the doctors and the engineers; once a thing is discovered and invented they retain the knowledge; in these wretched Fine Arts everything is forgotten, nothing is kept. "
Vincent Van Gogh: Symbolic Portraits: Symbolic Color
" Because instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, I use color more arbitrarily so as to express myself forcibly. "
" I should like to paint the portrait of an artist friend, a man who dreams great dreams, who works as the nightingale sings, because it is his nature. He'll be fair man. I want to put into the picture my appreciation, the love that I have for him. So I paint him as he is, as faithfully as I can, to begin with.
But the picture is not finished yet. To finish it I am now going to be the arbitrary colorist. I exaggerate the fairness of the hair, I come even to orange tones, chromes, and pale lemon yellow.
Beyond the head instead of painting the ordinary wall of the mean room, I paint infinity, a plain background of the richest, intensest blue that I can contrive, and by this simple combination of the bright head against the rich blue background, I get a mysterious effect, like a star in the depths of an azure sky. "
Vincent Van Gogh: To Express Hope by Some Star
" And in a picture I want to say something comforting as music is comforting. I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize, and which we seek to give by the actual radiance and vibration of our colorings ... "
" So I am always between two currents of thought, first the material difficulties, turning round and round and round to make a living; and second, the study of color. I am always in the hope of making a discovery there, to express the love of two lovers by a marriage of two complementary colors, their mingling and their opposition. To express the thought of brow by the radiance of a light tone against a somber background. "
Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976. Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century . John Murray.
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