Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is my favourite painter. Genius! Very influential, however his life was kind of miserable.

March 30th, 1853 – born in the south of the Netherlands. He was his parents’ oldest child, although they had another son one year earlier; he was stillborn and his name was also Vincent. He had 2 brothers and 3 sisters. As a chil he was serious, silent and thoughtful.

1868 – suddenly left school and returned home.

1869 – his uncle helped him obtain a position of an art dealer in The Hague.

1873 – transferred to London with a good salary. In London he fell in love with his landlady’s daughter, however she rejected him because she had already been engaged. As a result, Vincent was transferred to Paris but in 1876 he was terminated because of his attitude to art – he was resentful at how art was treated as a commodity.

1877 – decided to study theology and become a priest, but unfortunately failed the entrance exam.

1879 – tool a temporary jon of a missionary in Belgium – he taught the Bible to the poor. Around that time he started recording his life in drawings and followed his brother Theo’s suggestion to take up art.

1880 – registered at Art Academy in Brussels.

1881 – moved back to his parents and continued drawing. He proposed marriage to his cousin (she was widowed and had an 8-year-old son), but was rejected.

1882 – left to The Hague, where his cousin introduced him to painting in oil and watercolour. In the same year he met Sien, a pregantnt prostitute with a 5-year-old daughter – their relationship ended in 1883 after Vincent’s father had discovered it. Sien later claimed that her newborn son was Vincent’s.

1885 – painted “The Potato Eaters”, his first major painting and then moved to Antwerp where he rented a room and used money that Theo had sent him. His lifestyle wasn’t healthy: he was eating bread, drinking coffee, smoking tobacco. He started drinking absinthe heavily.

1886 – moved to Paris to live with Theo. He spent there 2 years, even though they often quarrelled. During that period he created about 200 paintings. In 1887 he met Paul Gauguin, who became his good friend and influenced his art.

1888 – moved to Arles in Provence. He was ill from drink and smoke and he hoped to found an art colony (a house for artists). At that time
some people described him as dirty, badly dressed, very ugly, impolite and sick. He waited for Gauguin’s visit in Arles, which finally happened in autumn. He painted his famous “Sunflowers”.
Gauguin was his idol and he wanted to be treated equal. But due to Gauguin’s arrogance they quarrelled, mainly about art.
Finally, after one of the fights Vincent went to a brothel, cut off his ear and gave it to one prostitute. Gauguin found him unconscious.

1889 – his house in Arles was closed by the police followed by neighbours’ complaints. Van Gogh entered an asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

1890 – his depression deepened, he had moments when he was unwilling to paint or even unable to do it.
On July 27th he shot himself in a chest and died 2 days later.
His last words were: “The sadness will last forever”.

What did he paint? Self-portraits, portraits, cypresses, orchards, wheat fields, flowers. His paintings were very bright and colourful – unlike his life full of sandess and darkness. Contradiction? Yes, very obvious.

He was a very interesting person… I often think about him.

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