So now, from this mad passion Which made me take art for an idol and a king I have learnt the burden of error that it bore And what misfortune springs from man's desire... The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time That I was given for reflecting upon God.
Painting and sculpture, labour and good faith, have been my ruin and I continually go from bad to worse. Better it would have been for me if I had set myself to making matches in my youth. I should not be in such distress of mind.
Painters are not in any way unsociable through pride, but either because they find few pursuits equal to painting, or in order not to corrupt themselves with the useless conversation of idle people, and debase the intellect from the lofty imaginations in which they are always absorbed.
Let it be enough for you to have bread and live virtuously and poorly like Christ, as I do here. I live meanly and don't bother about life or honor ... and I live with the greatest toil and a thousand worries. It is now about 15 years since I had a happy hour.
It is not sufficient merely to be a great master in painting and very wise, but I think that it is necessary for the painter to be very moral in his mode of life, or even, if such were possible, a saint, so that the Holy Spirit may inspire his intellect.
It is better decoration when, in painting, some monstrosity is introduced for variety and a relaxation of the senses and to attract the attention of mortal eyes, which at times desire to see that which they have never seen.
You must know that I am, of all men who were ever born, the most inclined to love persons. Whenever I behold someone who possesses any talent or displays any dexterity of mind, who can do or say something more appropriately than the rest of the world, I am compelled to fall in love with him; and then I give myself up to him so entirely that I am no longer my own property, but wholly his.