Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (23 November 1881) ... certainly would not use in a
There really are no more unbelieving and hard-hearted and
worldly people than clergymen and especially clergymen's wives
(a rule with exceptions). But even clergymen sometimes have a
human heart under three layers of steel armour.
But I am in terrible suspense and am quite ready to go to
Amsterdam, except that the journey is very expensive and I must
not waste my powder; the trip to Amsterdam is my reserve if my
letter has no effect.
Do you know that Uncle Stricker is really a very clever man,
in fact, an artist? His books are very good and give proof of
deep feeling. This summer I read a little book he had just
published on the “minor prophets” and a few of the
other less known books in the Bible. So I certainly hope that
after some time has passed, there will be more sympathy between
us than there has been hitherto.
The letter I received from him a few months ago was not
unsympathetic or written in anger, but...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (29 December 1881) ... this summer
between Kee and me.
I do not remember ever having been in such a rage in my
life. I frankly said that I thought their whole system of
religion horrible, and just because I had gone too deeply into
those questions during a miserable period in my life, I did not
want to think of them any more, and must keep clear of them as
of something fatal.
Was I too angry, too violent? Maybe - but even
so, it is settled now, once and for all.
I went back to Mauve and said, “Listen, Mauve, I
cannot stay in Etten any longer, and I must go and live
somewhere else, preferably here.”
Well, Mauve said, “Then stay.”
And so I have rented a studio here, that is, a room and an
alcove which can be arranged for the purpose, cheap enough, on
the outskirts of the town, in Schenkweg, ten minutes from
Mauve. Father said if I wanted money, he would lend it to me if
necessary, but this is impossible now, I must be quite
independent of Father....
Letter from Theo van Gogh/Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (5-8 January 1882) ... and Father took it amiss.
In case Father refers to my saying that, ever since I have
acquired so much dessous les cartes, I haven't given two pins
for the morality and the religious system of the clergy and
their academic ideas, then I absolutely refuse to take that
back, for I truly mean it. It is just that when I am in a calm
mood, I don't talk about it, although it is a different matter
when they try to force me to go to church, for instance, or to
attach importance to doing so, for then I naturally tell them
that it is completely out of the question.
(10) [sic] Does father's life count for nothing? I
have already said that when I hear someone say, “You will
be the death of me,” while in the meantime that man is
reading his paper and half a minute later is talking about
goodness knows what advertisement or other, I consider that
phrase fairly irrelevant and superfluous and take no notice of
it. As soon as that kind of phrase is repeated to...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (1-2 June 1882) ... understanding of art, but that will never happen. Clergymen
often introduce “things of beauty” into a sermon,
but it's dismal stuff and dreadfully stodgy.
Now I am glad that you have given me your frank opinion of
Sien, namely that she tricked me and that I allowed myself be
taken in, and I can understand why you should think that,
because such things do happen. However, I remember once when a
girl did try something like that, I shut the door in her face
so hard that I rather doubt I am likely to be taken in by such
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (3 June 1883) ... pretentious and downright
ungodly. In point of fact, clergymen are among the most
unbelieving people in society and dry materialists. Perhaps not
right in the pulpit, but in private matters. From a moral point
of view one might be allowed to object to a marriage if real
want of bread in its literal sense were to be expected;
but as I see it, such an objection utterly loses its moral
justification as soon as there is no question of actual want
of bread. And it would be ridiculous to predict want of
bread in your case.
Suppose somebody like old Mr. Goupil should raise monetary
objections - from his point of view as a rich merchant, one
could not expect anything else.