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Vincent van Gogh, and his paintings

Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh, a 19th century painter, made his mark on history as one of the most famous artists that ever lived. He would actually know nothing of this fame during his own lifetime as his world renowned reputation as a genius and the greatest Dutch painter since Rembrandt resulted only after his death at the age of 37. The record auction prices archived for his paintings, fueled by the desire to own a part of this troubled soul, art now legendary. Van Gogh started to paint at the age of 28 in 1881 and although his turbulent and disturbing life as a painter only lasted for a short time, his legacy left the world with captivating works of art that are admired and respected by art lovers throughout the entire world.

Van Gogh was born in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands in 1853. He was forced to leave school at the age of 15 to get a job to help his financially struggling family. In his early 20's, following in the footsteps of his austere father who was a country minister, he turned to preaching in Amsterdam and Belgium. He ministered to the sick in a poverty-stricken coal mine south of Belgium; however, like so many other things in his life that turned out poorly, he found himself in need of a new profession in his late 20's. Not unlike his failed attempts at various occupations, his relationships with women were also completely disastrous. He turned to art in 1880 and moved to Brussels to become a painter. With no formal training and no money, his brother (Theo) agreed to help support him financially. Van Gogh stayed connected to his brother mainly through written letters over the next and final period of his life. These were his most turbulent years where it seemed he had set out on a path of self destruction but they were also the years when he created his greatest works of art. Theo sold one painting for him for 400 francs, The Red Vineyards, just a few months before his untimely death.

Painting became an obsession to Van Gogh in his early years as a painter. He worked incessantly having little time for anything else. He was also studying on his own and through letters written to his brother, Theo, he made reference to the fact that he was putting himself through physical and mental anguish each day as a painter. Van Gogh moved to Paris where his brother lived and then from there moved to the south of France in the village of Arles. It was here that he moved into the famous little yellow house where he used all of his money for paints while surviving on only bread, coffee and absinthe. It is said that at this point in his life is when he began sipping turpentine, eating paint and began acting in a very disturbing and peculiar manner.

Mental illness was noticeably evident in Van Gogh's life by 1988. He was having epileptic type seizures, psychotic attacks and was often delusional. His brother, Theo, became very worried about his well being and offered a friend, Gaugin, money to go to Arles to look after his ailing brother. Gaugin moved in with Van Gogh; however, they ended up fighting constantly and Van Gogh actually threatened Gaugin with a knife. That same day the artist cut off his own ear and offered it to a prostitute he went to see as a gift. It was at this point that he was temporarily hospitalized for his mutilation as well as his poor mental state. He committed himself to an asylum not long after and all the while continued to paint. The tumultuous months that followed led up to Vincent Van Gogh's tragic demise.

Van Gogh's early expressive paintings used dark and muted colors. The Potato Eaters was his first true masterpiece; however, it was unfortunately considered to be a failure during his lifetime. Over the years he was influenced by impressionist art and transformed his style of painting to reflect impressionistic style. His most famous works of art include pieces like Starry Night, Sunflowers, Cafe At Night,, Irises, and Portrait of Dr. Gachet. Starry Night is one of his most popular pieces which was painted during his time in the asylum and the swirling strokes and shaken style may be considered a depiction of his own mental state.

I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove. ”

- Vincent van Gogh

The causes for Van Gogh's failure in life, and for the subsequent rapid success of his cultural counterworld, need not be sought in the untouchable torments of a solitary visionary. Quite the contrary: the reason lies in Van Gogh's tireless ambition for recognition, even if only in the image society had fashioned and could accept, the image of the outsider, the isolated genius. If ever there was a genius against his own will, it was Vincent van Gogh.

Masterpieces of Vincent van Gogh

  • The Starry Night over the Rhone
    The Starry Night over the Rhone
  • The Night Cafe
    The Night Cafe
  • The Starry Night
    The Starry Night
  • Cafe Terrace at Night
    Cafe at Night
  • Almond Blossom
    Almond Blossom
  • At Eternity's Gate
    At Eternity's Gate
  • Irise
  • Landscape with Oliver Trees
    Landscape with Oliver Trees
  • Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe
    Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe
  • Self Portrait
    Self Portrait
  • Sunflowers
  • The Bedroom at Arles
    The Bedroom at Arles
  • The Church at Auvers
    The Church at Auvers
  • The Mulberry Tree in Autumn
    The Mulberry Tree in Autumn
  • The Yellow House
    Wheat Field with Crows
  • Portrait of Dr. Gachet
    Portrait of Dr. Gachet
  • Thatched Cottages at Cordeville
    Thatched Cottages at Cordeville
  • Thatched Cottages at Cordeville
    Olive Trees With Yellow Sky And Sun
  • Portrait of Joseph Roulin
    Portrait of Joseph Roulin
  • Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear
    Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear
  • View of Arles
    View of Arles
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