Vincent Willem van Gogh (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art.
Born into an upper-middle-class family, Vincent was a quiet, serious child who liked to draw.
As a young man, he pursued his interest in art by working as an art dealer. After he was transferred to London, he fell in love with his landlady’s daughter, but his feelings were not returned. He succumbed to depression, and was ultimately released from his firm. (Click on smaller images to enlarge and reveal captions.)
He turned to his faith, and served as a missionary in southern Belgium. After that, he briefly held a series of jobs as a teacher, a minister’s assistant, and a bookstore clerk.
He drifted in ill health and solitude before moving back home with his parents in 1881, where he took up painting. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the two maintained a lively correspondence by letter. Vincent’s early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant laborers, contain few signs of the vivid color that distinguished his later work.
In 1886, van Gogh moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Paul Gauguin, whom he greatly admired. Vincent’s paintings grew brighter in color as he developed a style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888. Van Gogh invited Gauguin to join him there and paint together. Their friendship was short-lived, and ended after an argument and a violent confrontation with a razor, when in a rage, Vincent severed part of his own left ear.
Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions. He neglected his physical health, did not eat properly, and drank heavily. His depression continued and on July 27, 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He died from his injuries two days later. He was only 37 years old.
In just over a decade, van Gogh created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life in France, where he died. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterized by bold colors and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. His work was largely unappreciated during his lifetime. Today he is considered a creative genius.
Most of the information from this article came from Wikipedia.
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow @VanGoghTheLife and see a new Van Gogh painting every day—some of which you’ve undoubtedly never seen before.
Other posts about van Gogh on ARHtistic License:
- The Untold Story Behind Vincent Van Gogh’s Success
- Monday Morning Wisdom #88
- Van Gogh as You’ve Never Seen Him Before
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