The Van Gogh letters

Recently, I came across the letters of Vincent Van Gogh. They are incredible. Anyone striving to become an artist (which I have argued for quite a while everyone can) should stop and read.

One excerpt from Van Gogh to his dear friend Theo:

That rakes up the eternal question: is life visible to us in its entirety, or before we die do we know of only one hemisphere?

Painters – to speak only of them – being dead and buried, speak to a following generation or to several following generations through their works. Is that all, or is there more, even? In the life of the painter, death may perhaps not be the most difficult thing.

For myself, I declare I don’t know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream 90 times shared. Share this highlight
in as simple a way as the black spots on the map, representing towns and villages, make me dream.

Why, I say to myself, should the spots of light in the firmament be less accessible to us than the black spots on the map of France.

Just as we take the train to go to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to go to a star. What’s certainly true in this argument is that while alive, we cannot go to a star, any more than once dead we’d be able to take the train. So it seems to me not impossible that cholera, the stone, consumption, cancer are celestial means of locomotion, just as steamboats, omnibuses and the railway are terrestrial ones.

To die peacefully of old age would be to go there on foot.

As many of you know, Van Gogh struggled for most of his life with depression and poverty but eventually became one of the most important post-impression artists in history. Of course, he never lived to see all of that. The path of becoming an artist won’t always go viral or come with fame or fortune but it can fuel us in the lows to keep going.

If you could have something that makes you so rich inside, how could you ever be poor?