Letters of van Gogh

‘And now, as in other periods when civilization is in a decline, the corruption of society has turned all the relations of good and evil upside down, and one falls back logically upon the old saying, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

‘Like you, I have visited “Père Lachaise.” I have seen there graves of marble, for which I have an indescribable respect. I feel the same respect before the humble tombstone of Béranger’s mistress, which I looked for on purpose (if I remember correctly, it is in a corner behind his own), and there I particularly remembered Corot’s mistress too. Silent muses these women were, and in the emotion of those gentle masters, in the intimacy, the pathos of their poetry, I always feel a woman’s influence everywhere.’ From a letter to Theo – Drenthe, c. 22 September 1883 van Gogh’s Letters

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