"What is the use of a beautiful body, animals have it too... perhaps even more than men... but... the soul, as it lives in the people, that's what animals never have. Is not life given us to become richer in spirit?" - Vincent van Gogh
I'm watching "Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh", a film with some of Gogh's letters read by John Hurt. It's excellent.
Vincent is seen as the archetypical "tortured artist", with some justification. But I think it is much more important that his art came from Love of Life, and like he said himself, from Serenity. He never felt sorry for himself, he took the hardships of life as simply the price one paid to reach Higher. And he saw the Light, Love, and Joy behind it all, and that is what he painted.