The Arts

Top 10 Facts about the Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh

Renowned for being the most iconic Post-Impressionist artist, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fine art, Vincent Van Gogh is a name most people will know. Despite having been considered a failure in his lifetime, now, more than a century later, his masterpieces have revolutionized the way modern art is presented and perceived. Additionally, he has proven to be an inspiration to several current budding artists.

From what little we know about his personal life, it is well known that he suffered from degenerative mental disorders, which not only made his paintings a hoax on his mental health, but also made his life highly controversial, some details being quite shocking.

Related: 10 Fascinating Ancient Art Trends

10 Becoming An Artist Wasn’t His Initial Plan

Van Gogh’s father was a protestant pastor, and his son hoped to follow in his footsteps. He studied theology in a church and then was sent as a missionary to a small unknown town in the southwest of Belgium called “Borinage”. Because of his highly romanticized idea of ​​divinity and the deeper truth of what Christianity really was, he believed in a greater higher power, which was contrary to what his father’s church believed. He was a firm believer in the idea that the generation of religion begins in the lower class. That is why he began to preach in the town of the poor miners.

Van Gogh, seeing the state of the poor villagers, gave them all his possessions and tried to imitate the morality of Christ to capture people’s attention. An inspector from the Evangelization Council saw his radicalism and his behavior was denounced to the church authorities, who dismissed him just two years after his religious duties. So he decided to follow his artistic passion, and his work was often seen depicting religious symbology.[1]

9 The letters

Van Gogh was a very private person when it came to his personal life, and little or nothing would have been known about his life were it not for his letters, the only authentic personal record that remains of his life. They are a window into his universe. Vincent’s biggest supporter was his brother, Theo. Since Van Gogh turned to art and writing after being discharged from his missionary duties, he wrote to his brother in hopes of seeking clarity about his deteriorating mental health and lack of employment. The letters also showed how strained their family ties had become due to his inability to pursue a proper professional career.

With over 2,000 letters and around 240 sketches in them, they included everything from her deepest secrets to her intimate life. Around 950 of the letters were published in 1914 as a book.[2]

8 Inspired by the Orient

Van Gogh looked to many culturally affected artists and artworks for inspiration, and he was very fond of Asian art. At first, he did not pay attention to the growing trend of Japanese art, but he decided to modernize his work after seeing the growing impact of it. When he moved to Paris to share an apartment with his brother, the two worked on creating a collection of Japanese prints, and Vincent’s interest in this art form only chose to grow.

He began to develop an eye for Eastern art pieces, recognizing them as equally great masterpieces as Western ones. The only actual record indicating how large this collection of engravings was can be found in one of his letters, where he referred to them as “hundreds”.[3]

7 Unrequited Love

The idea of ​​having a mysterious artistic partner is compelling to many. Still, despite being a master of his artistic ability, Van Gogh was quite troublesome and unfortunate when it came to his romantic life, as he experienced only one proper romantic relationship throughout his short life. of the. It is known that he proposed to three women early in his life, for the sake of financial stability, and was rejected each time.

First, I had a very volatile relationship with a neighbor. They planned to get married, but she drank poison when her family resented her decision.

In 1882, he rescued a pregnant prostitute, who called herself Sien Hoornik, and her daughter. They moved into his studio with him. They entered into a romantic relationship that Van Gogh’s family was strongly against. Their romance only lasted 18 months, after which Vincent moved to Paris alone. In Paris, he fell in love with the owner of an Italian restaurant, Agostina Segatori, but this relationship turned out to be a challenge and things ended shortly after.[4]

6 Plagued By Many Diseases

One of the main reasons for Van Gogh’s troubled life and instability was due to the numerous health disorders he was experiencing, most of which were mental health disorders, which ran in his family. More than a century after his passing, the mystery of his mental health has yet to be unraveled. But it wasn’t until the age of 30 that his mental health took a dramatic downhill turn.

The downward spiral of his mental health is chronicled in the letters he exchanged with his brother, Theo. Looking more closely at the symptoms mentioned in these letters and in the authorized record at the Saint-Rémy asylum (where he was admitted), he experienced convulsions, anxiety, insomnia, and hallucinations. It was conjectured that he suffered from bipolar mood disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, repetitive self-mutilation (tactless known as “Van Gogh” syndrome), and alcohol withdrawal.[5]

5 Debated Details of the Fate of His Left Ear

One of the most infamous details of Van Gogh’s life has to be the incident about him. cutting off his ear, but the details of this incident have been greatly exaggerated. In 1888, he rented a house in Arles in the hope of finding a community of artists and being less of a burden to his brother. One of his good friends and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin, moved in with him, where they collaborated on his work.

They lived and worked together for two months, but tension seemed to build between them and, in a fit, Van Gogh pulled a knife on Gauguin. Rather than inflict wounds on Gauguin, he severed only the lobe of his left ear, not the entire ear. Although debate still continues over the exact amount of the appendage that was removed: anywhere between the earlobe, the earlobe plus a bit of the outer rim, and the entire ear. It is said that he gave the remains of his ear to a prostitute in a nearby brothel and was hospitalized for the next few days.[6]

4 Starry Night

Being one of the most eminent and amazing works of art, you will be surprised to know that the legendary Starry Night it was painted in a small room in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausoleum asylum. Van Gogh voluntarily entered the asylum after having several manic episodes and realizing that depression had begun to affect him. He was given a small separate studio where he was allowed to paint.

The study window overlooked a small town, and he was captivated by how big the stars seemed through his window. He then proceeded to create an oil painting on canvas of the landscape. Despite his convincing nature, Van Gogh greatly disliked this painting of his, and he called it a failure.[7]

3 mostly painted landscapes due to lack of models

If you take a look at a portfolio of Vincent Van Gogh’s work, you’ll notice that most of his artworks are landscapes, with very few exceptions for family and friends. This was not primarily by choice; he could not get models for his portraits because, in the first place, he lived in a state of poverty for most of his life and, therefore, he could not afford models. Second, he began to show signs of extreme aggression and hysteria due to his deteriorating mental health. This caused the people in his town to consider him a public threat and avoid him. Thus, no one ever volunteered to be his model, and considering that he was labeled a “failed artist” in his time, no one commissioned him to do portraits for them either.

It has a vast collection of self portraitswith a few exceptions including Dr. Gachet, the postman Joseph Roulin, and some prostitutes he found in Paris.[8]

2 Hardly any artwork sold during his lifetime

Vincent van Gogh was the quintessential starving artist of his day Because his work was considered “ugly” at that time and age, he was only able to sell a handful of paintings and a few drawings in 10 years. Most of these were commissioned or purchased by friends or family. However, he apparently traded many more paintings with other artists or patrons in exchange for food or painting supplies, so much more of his work was available during his lifetime. Van Gogh, unfortunately, did not reap the monetary benefits that his paintings now bring. But the conventionally proclaimed theory is that he could only sell one painting for a long time until he painted the red vineyard in 1888.

Van Gogh was invited to a group show in Brussels and sent six paintings to be exhibited with the group. One of these paintings was the red vineyard. Anna Boch, herself an artist, art collector and sister of one of Van Gogh’s close friends, bought the painting for 400 francs because she wanted to motivate Van Gogh and please her brother.[9]

1 suicide

The reason why Van Gogh died is well known, but the details of it have been somewhat wrong. Van Gogh had been visiting a field near Auvers that he had been painting for a while. One day, he traveled there and tried to commit suicide by shooting himself. While it is often thought that he died there, he did not hit any vital organs, so death was not instantaneous. Instead, she returned to the inn he was staying at.

Unfortunately, the bullet was lodged so deep inside him that doctors were unable to remove it. This caused an infection to develop. And two days after shooting himself in the abdomen, he died on July 29, 1890, with his brother Theo by his side.

However, this account has received some pushback, with some claiming that he was accidentally, perhaps intentionally, shot by a couple of men. young teenagers while he was in the field. To protect the children, Van Gogh claimed that he had done it himself, which is what his brother and the doctor who saw him afterwards believed. Unfortunately, he may never know the truth.[10]

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