Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30th 1853 in a village located in the Dutch province called Groot Zundert. As a child Vincent became fond of art and was passionate about drawing. He didn’t have a lot to say but he had a lot going on in his thoughtful mind to draw onto a piece of paper. He went to two boarding schools and a Methodist boys’ school and excelled in writing before he turned his passions into an early career and became an art dealer. After that road came to an end, Vincent found another way of life through religion, most likely inspired by his father. His father was a Christian pastor and Vincent became a Protestant missionary. That road also came to an end when his body was physically and mentally weak and he moved back home. At home he began his own drawing and painting career. His first works consisted mainly of still lifes and peasants. To gain more inspiration for his art he moved to Paris. In Paris he started paintings of landscapes. Then he moved to France where he started works of olive trees, wheat fields, and sunflowers. His art career was only ten years and he devoted the first four years to just drawing. During his life he only sold one of his paintings for just $80. Today there are 1,700 of his works that we have, 40 of which are self portraits; 900 drawings and 800 paintings. His paintings now sell for millions. One of them sold for a ridiculous amount of $82.5 million dollars.
On a more personal note to Vincent’s life he had a lot of mental health issues that led to his death. He believed that the world was one that “god created on one of his bad days”. He could only express his love through art, when he expressed it to people it came off hostile and was misunderstood. His first love was his widowed cousin which didn’t turn out well. He then fell in love with an alcoholic prostitute that also didn’t help him with his drinking issues and wasn’t at all a healthy romantic relationship. He was humble and only signed his art ‘Vincent’. He ate very little and had drinking problems. He had psychotic episodes and became delusional and spent time at psychiatric hospitals because of this. On July 27th 1890 Vincent attempted to kill himself with a shot from a revolver to his chest. He died a slow painful death after the shot, dying two days later from the damage.
Vincent is well known for Post-Impressionism, Pointillism, and Neo-impressionism art he painted. He’s also well known for the incident when he cut off his ear. I’ve read that some think it’s from a fight he had with someone and a razor got to his ear. Others say that he intentionally cut it off and gave it to a prostitute. Regardless of his behavior he was very talented in his style of paintings. His paintings often looked like they were painted with overlapping strokes creating a still art piece. He’s most well known for his oil paintings but he painted more watercolor paintings than oil paintings. His artist inspirations were Gauguin, Pissarro, Monet, and Bernard. He visited art galleries in his free time for inspiration as well. Along with his love of art, he also had a love for writing. He enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens and George Eliot.
Vincent’s most well known painting is Starry Night, a piece that’s oil on canvas. This painting was actually painted while Vincent was spending time in the asylum looking out his window because of his unstable behaviors. Vincent’s letters that he exchanged mainly with his brother, Theo are also famous and there are books dedicated to just his letters that he’s written and received. He also has books dedicated to just his ear that he had cut half off.
Overall I enjoy the backstory to the art that Vincent created more than the art piece itself. He has a very interesting personal life and analyzing his inspirations through his pieces is also very intriguing. I find it astonishing that people buy his art for such a high price but I do understand how competitive the selling industry of art pieces can be. I enjoyed reading about his struggles and how he coped by painting, it was inspiring and made me admire his work more.
My favorite painting by van Gogh is A Cornfield with Cypresses. It was painted in July 1889 and it’s an oil on canvas piece on a 72X91cm piece of canvas. The piece depicts a cornfield with a few wildflowers and some trees, bushes, and grass. In the background there are blue rolling hills and in the perfectly clear sky are lucious bunches of swirling clouds. My favorite feature are the light colors he uses besides the couple of darker green trees. This painting brings me satisfactory feelings of liberty and tranquility. Of all the paintings I saw of van Gogh’s this one was simple but produced the most complex feelings for me within the colors and shapes he created.