Van Gogh is considered one of the best artists in history and his artwork has won the hearts of people all around the world. But besides his amazing paintings, what captured my attention in a particular way were his character and his philosophy of life and how they were reflected in his artwork.
I developed a true passion for Van Gogh after reading the biographical book Lust for life by Irving Stone and these are 4 inspiring life lessons I learnt from this great artist:
Be courageous and don’t give up on your dreams
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
I would say that Van Gogh is one of the most iconic examples of how important it is to stay focused and to be persistent about your goal. Despite being constantly discouraged by his family and the people around him, told that he has no talent and being considered a failure for society, Van Gogh continued working with devotion at his paintings.
Listen to your inner voice
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
Under the pressure of society’s expectations of us we can easily forget about our true passions and talents so every time you may think about abandoning them, take a step back and listen to your instinct. Even if painting didn’t bring Van Gogh any income or any respect from the society back then, he knew that this was his life purpose because he truly felt alive while doing it.
You can be sensitive and strong at the same time
“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”
One of the first things I observed about Van Gogh was how much of a sensitive person he was. This made him a better observer of the environment and the people around him, a great friend and brother, an empathetic and kind person. At the same time, he carried on through life with courage and strong will, realizing that his sensitivity is the one that can make his artwork unique.
“Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.”
In his paintings Van Gogh managed to capture the beautiful details of nature and human beings due to his dedication in observing and analyzing them. His love for nature and people was only possible by taking time to really admire them. I think that gave him the possibility to feel so happy when surrounded by natural elements and loved ones, making us realize the importance of being more aware of their little beautiful details.
Stay true to yourself
“I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”
Even if he was rejected by society and struggled with loneliness, Van Gogh never gave up on being himself and didn’t try to fit people’s expectations. He preferred keeping close just a few people who truly understood and appreciated him, like his brother Theo and a little circle of impressionist painters. I think this can teach us how important it is to stay true to yourself and the right people will follow.