The Human Condition
Man's Search for Meaning (Washington Square Press: 1963), p. 172.
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.
Vincent van Gogh on the Journey said...
The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh L74, Written Aug 26, 1876 (NY Graphic Society, 1958), I:66.
Did I ever tell you about a picture by Boughton, "The Pilgrim's Progress"? It is toward evening. A sandy path leads over the hills to a mountain, on the top of which is the Holy City, lit by the red sun setting behind the gray evening clouds. On the road is a pilgrim who wants to go to the city; he is already tired and asks a woman in black, who is standing by the road and whose name is "Sorrowful yet always Rejoicing": "Does the road go uphill all the way?" "Yes, to the very end." "And will the journey take all day long?" "Yes, from morn till night my friend." Truly, it is not a picture, but an inspiration.
The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh L441, Written December 19, 1885 (New York Graphic Society, 1958), 2:462.
I prefer painting people's eyes to cathedrals, for there is something in the eyes that is not in the cathedral, however solemn and imposing the latter may be — a human soul, be it that of a poor beggar or of a street walker, is more interesting to me.
The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh L248, Written 26,27 Dec 1882 (NY Graphic Society, 1958), I:495.
It seems to me it's a painter's duty to try to put an idea into his work. In this print I have tried to express what seems to me one of the strongest proofs of the existence of the "quelque chose l'-haut" [something on high] in which Millet believed, namely the existence of God and eternity... ¶ [It is] certainly in the infinitely touching expression of a little old man, which he himself is unconscious of, when he is sitting quietly in the corner by the fire. At the same time, there is something noble, something great, which cannot be destined for the worms... This is far from all theology, simply the fact that the poorest little woodcutter or peasant on the hearth or miner can have moments of emotion and inspiration that give him a feeling of an eternal home, and of being close to it.