Van Gogh on the Essence of True Love

Rarely are we invited as intimately into the creation of spellbinding art as we are through Van Gogh’s Letters. It’s because of their accessibility that Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890), among all the fathers of modern art, has become the most universally loved.

That his range of ideas is not seen as dated more than hundred years after his death is in part due to the fact that he cultivated his inner universe, confidently seeking the eternal in the temporal. And nowhere does this manifest as strongly as in his reflections on the essence of true love.

Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh writes:

It may well seem to you that the sun is shining more brightly and that everything has taken on a new charm. That, at any rate, is the inevitable consequence of true love, I believe, and it is a wonderful thing. And I also believe that those who hold that no one thinks clearly when in love are wrong, for it is at just that time that one thinks very clearly indeed and is more energetic than one was before.

And then he adds:

And love is something eternal, it may change in aspect but not in essence. And there is the same difference between someone who is in love and what he was like before as there is between a lamp that is lit and one that is not. The lamp was there all the time and it was a good lamp, but now it is giving light as well and that is its true function. And one has more peace of mind about many things and so is more likely to do better work.

Complement this touching Van Gogh Letter with Erich Fromm on why love is not as easy as most people think.

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