Vincent van Gogh: letters, art, and context > Personal beliefs

Between the ages of 23 and 27, Van Gogh was exceptionally interested in the Bible, and all his thoughts seemed to take the form of Bible passages. He later described this period as “a few years which I find hard to understand myself, when I was confused by religious ideas – by a sort of mysticism.” [letter 432]

Faith played an important role in Van Gogh’s life. This was true even after his youthful period of religious fanaticism ended and he rejected the church. He quoted the French author Michelet (though he attributed the statement to Victor Hugo): “Religions pass, but God remains.” [letter 294]
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Van Gogh felt deeply connected to nature, which for him was a source of energy and inner peace. For example, in 1888 he wrote to Theo, who was about to become a father, “Ah well, do you know what I hope for once I set myself to having some hope, it’s that the family will be for you what nature is for me, the mounds of earth, the grass, the yellow wheat, the peasant.” [letter 800]
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