Sunday, 10 June 2012

Vincent van Gogh

                                                                Artist : Vincent van Gogh

 Artist : Vincent van Gogh
Born: 30 March 1853; Zundert, Netherlands
Died: 29 July 1890; Auvers-sur-Oise, France
Field: painting
Nationality: Dutch

    One of the most famous painters in history, Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch neo-impressionist painter, who produced a vast number of the most recognizable artworks of all time. Van Gogh was a serious, silent, and thoughtful child, who did not attend art classes until he was secondary school. With a natural talent for art, he was contracted quickly out of school to work with an art dealer in The Hague, and later transferred to a dealer in Brixton, in England, where at age twenty he was making more money than his own father. According to his sister in law, this was the happiest time of his life.

He was fired from a job in France, after which he had to return to England for unpaid work. He worked many small jobs until he realized that his calling was in the ministry, and he traveled to Amsterdam in 1877 to study theology. Unfortunately for Van Gogh, he failed his entrance exams to the university, as well as several missionary posts. His tribulations in the missionary field came to an end when he returned home to his parents. During this time, after a particularly bad argument, Van Gogh’s father made inquiries about having his son committed to a lunatic asylum.

He returned to Cuesmes, Belgium, in 1880, and resigned himself to the life of an artist, enrolling at the Academy of Fine Art in Brussels, studying art in earnest. His years as an art student were rocky at best. During the time period between 1880 and 1886, Van Gogh had unsuccessfully proposed marriage a number of times, impregnated and abandoned at least one woman, suffered the death of his father, and was in ill-health due to a diet of bread, tobacco, and coffee. Nevertheless, he matriculated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 1886.

He later traveled to Paris, where he met and painted with many prominent impressionist painters, and later to Arles, where he was enthralled by the bright light of the South of France. Throughout this time he was a prolific painter, producing many of his best known works, and cavorting with famous French impressionists. During his stay in Arles, Van Gogh implored Paul Gaugin to lie with him in Arles so they could paint together. Gaugin relented, but did not stay long, as his relationship with Van Gogh was becoming increasingly strained. In December of 1888, Van Gogh, in a paranoid state, confronted Gaugin with a razorblade. He later fled in a panic to a nearby brothel, cutting off a small portion of his earlobe, giving it to a prostitute. He spent months in recovery, suffering hallucinations and paranoid dilemmas, and was finally committed in an asylum in 1889.

He returned from the asylum to seek treatment with Dr. Paul Gachet, and later returned home. His mental state, however was seriously debilitated, and he suffered from hallucinations and severe depression. In July of 1890, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest. He survived the immediate wound, and walked back to a nearby inn. He died two days later, at the age of 37.

Although his work was not immediately recognized, his fame grew throughout the 19th century, and he is now one of the most famous painters in history, and recognized for important contributions to modern art.


Van Gogh painted Irises the year before his death, in 1889, during his stay at the asylum in Saint Remy de Provence. Van Gogh often used painting as a way to keep himself from going insane, and this painting was one such work. It was painted before his first mental attack at the asylum. Van Gogh sent the painting to his brother Theo, who immediately sent it to the Salon des Independants that same year, where it was exhibited and highly praised. It continued to set high price records at auction until it was sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 1990.

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