Vincent van Gogh

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Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) self-portrait artwork by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Born: 03/30/1853
Location: Groot Zundert, Netherlands
Died: 07/29/1890
Age: 37
Movements Impressionism
Nationality Dutch
Expertise Painting

Vincent van Gogh produced over nine hundred paintings in his ten years as an artist. His early works used dark, earthy colors, but with the burgeoning popularity of Impressionism, van Gogh introduced vivid colors and bold brushwork to his art.

Personal life

Vincent van Gogh, the son of a minister, grew up in Holland. After his schooling ended, he became an art dealer, which was his uncle’s profession. He learned the trade in Holland and worked in England and France. Although he was successful as an art dealer, he became disinterested in the work and began studying theology. Despite van Gogh’s enthusiasm for the ministry, he failed his theologian exams. Van Gogh was a very intelligent man and spoke multiple languages. He didn’t believe in speaking Latin to minister to the poor, so he spent time in an impoverished coal mining community working as a missionary in his own capacity. All the while, he studied to become a minister. He was unable to realize his goal of following in his father’s profession, but he gained insight into the people around him. He used this insight to start his career as an artist. On the morning of July 27, 1890, van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He did not die from the gunshot wound, so he was able to spend a couple of days communing with his brother. Theo took Vincent home on July 29, where Vincent died in his brother’s arms at the young age of thirty-seven.


At the age of twenty-seven, van Gogh enrolled at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Belgium, where he began painting. His first major work, Potato Eaters, was completed in 1885. He was unlucky in love, so he threw himself into his paintings, studying color theory and the works of Peter Paul Rubens. His subjects were peasants and rural landscapes, which he painted using dark earthy tones, as depicted in Farmer Sitting by the Fireplace, Reading, 1881. His work attracted interest, but he had difficulty selling his paintings. Van Gogh’s brother, an art dealer named Theo, encouraged van Gogh to introduce more colors into his paintings. Impressionism was gaining dominance at the time, and vivid colors could be seen in many works of art. Van Gogh relocated to Paris in 1886 and began spending time in the company of such artists as Bernard, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec. He developed his personal style using bright colors and bold brushstrokes to paint portrait landscapes. Despite good reviews, the artist was still unable to sell his paintings. Van Gogh completed his most impressive artwork during the final years of his life. It was during this time he painted Sunflowers. Unfortunately, the creator of some of the world’s most compelling works of art was also suffering from mental illness. He painted the highly acclaimed Starry Night during his stay at an asylum.

Fun Facts

  • Although van Gogh’s work was not fully appreciated while the artist was alive, it wasn’t long after his death that the world realized its great loss. His work was memorialized around the globe within twenty years of the artist’s passing.

Related Artists


Some Examples of Vincent van Gogh’s Artwork

Starry Night over the Rhone c. 1888 artwork by Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night over the Rhone c. 1888

Van Gogh: Starry Night artwork by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh: Starry Night

Mulberry Tree c. 1889 artwork by Vincent van Gogh

Mulberry Tree c. 1889