Who Was Vincent Van Gogh?

Who Was Vincent Van Gogh?

Nowadays we know Vincent van Gogh as one of the world's most famous artists to ever leave. But did you know that hardly anyone knew who he was when he was alive?

Let us take a journey back in time to figure out who Vincent van Gogh was and how Vincent became one of the most recognized artists in the world.

On March 30, 1853, Vincent van Gogh was born in a small town in the Netherlands. When Vincent was 11, his parents sent him off to boarding school. Which he did not like at all, however, he was a bright student and he got great grades in school. Vincent could speak and write in Dutch, English, and French.

At the age of 16, his uncle, known as Uncle Cent, got Vincent his first job, as a trainee at an international art business named Goupil & Cie.

In 1872, Vincent began writing letters to Theo, Vincent's younger brother who was in Pairs. He wrote about 650 letters to Theo.

In 1876, he quit his job and went to England to look for a new job. His search for a job lasted for several years. Vincent got various jobs in England, which included teaching and working in a bookstore.

Ultimately he decided to go back to school and study theology at the age of 24. He continued to write to his brother Theo about his studies and began including sketches in his letters.

Van Gogh self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

The self-portrait is an oil painting on canvas (65x54 cm) made in 1889.

Shortly after, Vincent quit school. Then he decided he wanted to serve God.

So he moved to Belgium on a mission to serve God. He worked as a preacher in the mining region of Borinage. Vincent went all-in on his mission to serve God and lived with the miners.

He would even sleep on the floor and at times would give them everything he had. His nickname became the Christ of the coal mine.

After his adventures in Belgium, Vincent was advised by his brother Theo to concentrate on his artwork.

Vincent started taking painting lessons from artist Anton Mauve, who taught him the basics of oils and watercolors.

Vincent moved back to Nuenen, which is in the Netherlands. In 1883 where he rented a small studio and focused on creating his artwork.

Soon after in 1885, Vincent started working on "The Potato Eaters," which would eventually become one of Vincent's most successful paintings that showcased peasant life in Nuenen.

The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gogh

The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gogh

At this point, Vincent loved to draw and paint and he wanted to be a great artist. He worked relentlessly on his craft.

Once again, Vincent decided to move to Paris to live with his brother. Where Theo would introduce him to artists like Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, and Emile Bernard.

There he would learn a lot from other artists in mixing and using colors. He'd eventually loosen his style and began to start painting with bright cheerful colors.

Vincent at this time had very little money, so he would carefully measure his paint before starting his composition.

After just two years in Paris, Vincent got tired of the busy lifestyle. Can you guess what he did next? He moved again, this time down south to the small town of Arles, at least he was still in France.

After settling in Arles he went on a creative adventure where he would produce most of his amazing paintings. Vincent was inspired by the orchids he saw in the fields, the workers gathering the harvest, and boats that came along the coast.

Vincent was feeling motivated but he soon started to get lonely, so he decided to write to his brother Theo about setting up a Studio of the South of France, where artists could work.

With this in mind, Vincent rented a small yellow house with four rooms. He then created 200-plus works, however, he only decided to send a few to Theo, so they could be sold in Paris.

Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent had a difficult time when he realized that most of his paintings that he sent to his brother were not selling.

So, for some odd reason, he decided to grab a razor and slice off his ear. The next part gets even weirder.

Vincent wrapped up the ear that he sliced in newspaper and headed down to the red light district, and presented the package to a young lady and said, “guard this object carefully and quickly disappeared”.

The next morning, he woke up in a hospital, Vincent didn't remember much about the incident and seemed to be confused by the whole situation.

This is when Vincent realized he had some sort of mental illness, and fearing he might have another episode, he smartly admitted himself to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, a psychiatric hospital in Saint-Remy.

There are various theories as to why did Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear? Some believe Vincent suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, which causes seizures as well as depression. 

Vincent would start to paint again, within Saint-Remy gated garden, and was later even allowed to work outside. However, his mental health would fluctuate often, and during his time there he ended up eating some of his oil paints.

Despite his relapses, Vincent was incredibly efficient when it came to painting during his time at Saint-Remy.

He would complete roughly 150 paintings in under a year. Of these paintings he produced was the iconic "Starry Night," which he painted while looking through the iron-barred windows in his room.

The starry night by Vincent Van Gogh

The starry night by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh The Starry Night Meaning

While Vincent only sold a few paintings while still alive, later in his life he did start to get an appreciation for his work by other artists.

Vincent eventually started to feel good about himself and left the mental hospital, headed north to Auvers-Sur-Oise.

This was closer to where his younger brother Theo stayed, and there was even a doctor named Dr. Paul Gachet who would check up on him regularly.

Vincent threw himself into his work, but unfortunately, it was during this time that Vincent started to worry about money; because his brother Theo had always supported him financially and now Theo had decided to quit his job. This sent Vincent into extreme worry and depression.

On July 27, 1890, he shot himself in the chest with a pistol. He was badly wounded but he didn’t die, after two days of suffering he passed away.

Vincent's legacy is like no other artists, creating over 850 paintings and nearly 1,300 works on paper Vincent truly had a passion for art. He desired to share his art with the world! In 1973, the Vincent Van Gogh Museum was opened. Over 1.5 million people visit the museum every year.

Vincent Van Gogh Paintings For Sale!


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