The Biography of Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 in the south of Netherlands, where he grew up. He was the second of six children. His father, Theodorus Van Gogh, was a religious minister and his mother was the daughter of a book seller. Vincent Van Gogh grew up a quiet and reserved child. After he was done with school, he followed in his uncles footsteps and he became an art dealer in Holland and later moved to England and France. He worked at the London office of Goupil & Cie. He lost interest in the trade and later moved to Southern Belgium. Here, he became a preacher delivering messages of hope to local coal miners. He gave away most of his possessions and the church later dismissed him for his deep commitment to his faith. He had to move back home in 1881 due to his dire poverty.
Van Gogh really liked his cousin, Kee Vos-Sticker, and his continued pursuit of her led to a split in the family. This left Van Gogh shattered and he decided to teach himself how to paint. He went through a period where he was not successful in his quest but he did not quit as he had developed a certain level of interest in the paintings.
Vincent Van Gogh painted his first major work, Potato Eaters, in 1885, the same year his father died from a stroke, putting immense pressure on Vincent Van Gogh to get a successful career. He devoted his full time to painting, and he studied color theory. During this period, he discovered the work of Peter Paul Rubens, and he was interested in his style of swirls and loose brushwork. He tried this style but he was still finding it hard to sell his paintings.
Times in Europe were changing fast and impressionism style was taking center stage. Van Gogh’s brother, Theo asked him to try it, after Van Gogh had accused him of not selling enough of his paintings. Impressionism was a bright style where painters’ bright vivid colors and most people were beginning to appreciate it and buy most paintings from impressionist artists.
Van Gogh left Netherlands for the last time and he moved to Arles,France where he wanted to open an artist’s community. He was joined by Gauguin, where they lived and worked together in a house they called “Yellow House”, developing a style of painting that was not dependent on nature. This was Van Gogh’s most productive period. He started using more color, applying paint with thick bold brushes, and he painted all that was around him. Van Gogh suffered from mental instability and it included psychotic episodes, bipolar disorder and delusions. He committed himself to a mental institution in 1889 and after a while and he was kept under supervision but allowed to keep painting in the clinic’s garden. He did more than 100 paintings in this time, including his most famous painting, The Starry Night.
Shortly after his release, Van Gogh took his own life in 1890, by shooting himself in the chest. That got people to notice his work and after a while, there were memorial shows of his work all over the world.