Van Gogh’s 10 Commandments

In the winter of 1878, Van Gogh entered the dark region of the Borinage as a lay-preacher, where he gave away his money, his clothes and even his bed to the poor. The church dismissed him. He was no longer allowed to preach. His brother had encouraged him to make drawings of the landscapes he admired, so Van Gogh laid down ten commandments for himself as a guide through his School of Art:


  1. Only do what you like
  2. Do it thoroughly
  3. Examine yourself closely, for you are riding a race horse
  4. Spare neither whip nor spur to get all you can out of your horse
  5. Choose your medium cautiously
  6. Choose your first milestone cautiously
  7. Then your second one
  8. Then your third always with care
  9. Then choose as recklessly as you can
  10. And if you reach it you will never have passed the first

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