Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch artist who lived in the second half of the 19th century and became one of the most influential painters in the history of Western art. His paintings, written in the genre of post-impressionism, still make a strong impression today with an unusual combination of colors. Now Van Gogh’s paintings retain the status of the most expensive in the world, and the museum named after this artist has become the most visited in the Netherlands. It annually receives 1.5 million art lovers from different countries.
Biography of Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in the Dutch village of Groot-Zundert. His father was a Protestant pastor, and his mother was a strict and demanding woman. He could draw from an early age, and these activities were encouraged. Vincent had a younger brother, Theo, who always supported the artist, and three more sisters.
Already at the age of 16, Vincent van Gogh, with the support of his uncle, got a job as an art dealer in the Hague company – this activity was traditional for the family. Four years later he was transferred to London, and this time was one of the most prosperous in the artist’s life. By the age of twenty, he was already earning more than his father. But well-being was not what Van Gogh’s soul aspired to. He left a lucrative profession and returned to his parents to devote himself to the Church.
In 1879 Van Gogh went as a missionary to a poor mining village in Belgium. The poverty of the miners impresses the young man so much that he gives them most of the food and clothing and even gives up housing, while he sleeps on straw in a small hut. But such zeal does not find understanding among the church authorities. A year later, Vincent is banned from preaching, accusing him of “undermining the dignity of the priest.” He becomes disillusioned with religion and decides to devote himself to creativity.
Van Gogh’s early painting
Van Gogh’s first true teacher of painting was Antoine Mauve, who was a distant relative of his. When Vincent’s father called his son useless and kicked him out of the house, Move sheltered him in The Hague, and his brother Theo helped with money. But soon the relationship with the mentor deteriorated due to Van Gogh’s obscene relationship with a girl of easy virtue.
In 1885, the artist’s first known painting, The Potato Eaters, appeared. Theo, who was engaged in the sale of works of art, put it on public display, but criticized it for its dark coloring. By that time, the painter’s brother had already met the Impressionists and realized that they were the future. He called his brother to Paris to get acquainted with the new style and modern color theory.
In early 1886 Van Gogh moved to Paris. He met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac. The artist also became interested in oriental engravings and borrowed many techniques. The Parisian period lasts only two years, but during this time a huge number of paintings were created that were close in spirit to the Impressionists. There are especially many bright and colorful still lifes among them.
Van Gogh’s Mature Period
In February 1888, Van Gogh arrives in Arles and is delighted with the bright colors under the southern sun. He painted flowering trees, fields of wheat, rural landscapes and sunflowers. “Bedroom at Arles”, “Starry night over the Rhone” and some other famous paintings were painted to decorate the Yellow House, where the artist lived. He had the idea to create a commune for painters who would create masterpieces in this blessed land. But only Paul Gauguin responds to Vincent’s draft letters.
Van Gogh was delighted with the arrival of Gauguin, because he admired his work. But pretty soon they started to quarrel. Vincent wanted to build relationships on an equal footing, and the imperious Gauguin, both in everyday life and in art, set his own rules and took on the role of a mentor. The situation became excessively tense, and the not quite healthy Van Gogh had a breakdown.
The famous story that he cut off his ear and threatened Gauguin with a bloody knife is doubtful. It is more likely that the cause of the incident was shaving with trembling hands. Be that as it may, Gauguin left Arles without saying goodbye, and Van Gogh ended up in a mental hospital in Saint-Remy.
last years of life
Under the supervision of doctors, the artist spent about a year. He was allowed to paint, and even in such cramped conditions he created magnificent works. Among them is the famous Starry Night. After being discharged, Van Gogh settled in Auvers-sur-Oise and visited Theo in Paris. By that time, Theo’s health and financial affairs had deteriorated. A quarrel broke out between the brothers, and Vincent hastily returned back.
Two weeks later, he shot himself in the chest with a revolver. The bullet passed without hitting any vital organs, but local doctors were unable to remove it. Two days later, on July 29, 1890, the artist died of an infection. Theo, who hastily arrived, held his brother’s hand in the last minutes and himself outlived him only by half a year.