Vincent van Gogh Quotes in The Art of Travel
Because we find places to be beautiful as immediately and apparently spontaneously as we find snow to be cold or sugar sweet, it is hard to imagine that there is anything we might do to alter or expand our attractions. It seems that matters have been decided for us by qualities inherent in the places themselves or by hardwiring in our psyches, and that we would therefore be as helpless to modify our sense of the places we find beautiful as we would our preference for the ice creams we find appetizing.
Yet aesthetic tastes may be less rigid than this analogy suggests. We overlook certain places because nothing has ever prompted us to conceive of them as being worthy of appreciation, or because some unfortunate but random association has turned us against them.
It was for van Gogh the mark of every great painter to enable viewers to see certain aspects of the world more clearly.
‘Completely true to nature!’—what a lie:
How could nature ever be constrained into a picture?
The smallest bit of nature is infinite!
And so he paints what he likes about it.
And what does he like? He likes what he can paint!
A few years after van Gogh’s stay in Provence, Oscar Wilde remarked that there had been no fog in London before Whistler painted it. Surely, too, there were fewer cypresses in Provence before van Gogh painted them.