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Van Gogh on the essential in art

From a letter dated December 28, 1885:

“The only question is whether one should start from the soul or from the clothes, and whether one allows the form to serve as a peg for hanging ribbons and bows from, or if one looks upon the form as a means of conveying an impression, a sentiment—or again,  if one does modeling for the sake of modeling because it is such an infinitely beautiful thing to do. Only the first is ephemeral, the other two are high art.”

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