Vincent Van Gogh

Biography of Vincent Van Gogh
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Vincent Van Gogh Biography

Vincent Willem van Gogh, popularly known as Vincent van Gogh, was born in Zundert, Netherlands on March 30, 1853, and died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, on July 29, 1890. Vincent is recognized as one of the best post-impressionist painters, characterized by his thick brushstrokes, by the strong colors and swirls that inhabit his works. His most popular paintings are The Starry Night, Cafe Terrace at Night, The Potato Eaters, Bedroom in Arles and Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, besides his multiple self-portraits.

His parents, Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus, called him with the name of their son who had been born exactly one year before him and had died minutes later, on March 30, 1852.

In his childhood, Vincent van Gogh attended several boarding schools without his parents being able to decide on one until he was 15 years old and left school to work. A year later, Vincent would be hired at the Goupil & Co, a company that traded with art, and where his uncle Vincent worked.

The Goupil & Co, which would later change its name to Boussod & Valadon, sent Vincent van Gogh to London, where he fell in love with Eugenie, owner of the place where he stayed. However, she refused to start a relationship with him because she was committed to someone else already. Because of this, Van Gogh changed his interest in his work for books and loneliness. By 1878, he had already been fired for this and for intruding his personal taste in the business.

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm is terrible. But that does not stop them from going to sea.”  Vincent van Gogh

Once he was unemployed, and before dedicating himself to painting, he put himself at the service of religion. In Amsterdam, he wanted to become a theologian, but the institutions rejected him for not knowing Greek or Latin, besides his problems to socialize. However, he was sent to Belgium, to the mines of Borinage, to evangelize the miners of this place and where he spent 22 months in deep misery and fanaticism until his brother advised him to devote himself to painting.

While in Brussels, in 1880, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts where he painted in the style of Jean-Fraçóis Millet, which included farmers and miners, who reminded him of his times in Borinage. A year later, Vincent traveled to Etten to visit his brother and his cousin Anton Mauve, who was also a painter. There, he fell in love with one of his cousins, Cornelia Adriana Vos-Stricker, who rejected him violently despite being a widow.

Thanks to the insistence of his cousin, Van Gogh made different watercolors in which could be appreciated his study of perspective, drawing and the subject of death applied to nature. Vincent met Clasina Maria Hoornik, a prostitute with a daughter and waiting for another son, who lived on the street, and with whom Vincent started to form a family. However, given the shortage in which they lived -Vincent subsisted with the help of his brother Theo-, Clasina returned to prostitution. Van Gogh abandoned her because of this and because of the rejection she aroused in his family.

In Nuennen, Netherlands he painted the rural weavers together with his friend Anthon van Rappard. From this period, 1884, his work The weaver at the loom is well-known. In this same year, he met Margot Begemann, with whom he wanted to get married, but he could not because of the opposition of his family. The following year his father died, and to avoid problems related to the inheritance, he accepted the help of a sacristan who got him a place where he could continue working and where he painted “The potato eaters” which he printed in 20 lithographs to sell to his neighbors. This painting received a strong criticism from Rappard, to which van Gogh reacted by cutting relations with him.

In 1885, in Antwerp, Vincent van Gogh discovered Rubens and the Japanese prints, which exerted a great influence on the way he used color. Also, Van Gogh discovered that he had syphilis, by which he lost most of his teeth. In 1886, he moved to live with his brother Theo in Paris, where he met the Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Camille, and Paul Gauguin, among others.

Time later, he went to live in Arles, where he devoted himself to portraits and landscapes. Van Gogh rented the Yellow House to found a circle of painters. Although he invited many artists, only Gauguin showed interest, although due to financial problems he did not travel until Vincent’s brother, Theo, paid his debts. Together, they portrayed themselves and some of the places in Arles. However, over time they discovered that they did not sympathize as much as they expected, to the point that, in the middle of a discussion, van Gogh chased Gauguin with a knife – as narrated by the latter – and then cut off the lobe of his left ear himself. After this, Gauguin left Arles to never see Van Gogh again. This experience inspired Van Gogh to paint the Self-portrait with the bandaged ear.

The Starry Night – Vincent Van Gogh

After some similar episodes, Van Gogh decided to seclude himself in the Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum, in the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, on May 8, 1889. Van Gogh adjusted his room as a workshop where he painted works full of spirals, among which Starry Night, his most famous work stands out. For this year and the next, he made three exhibitions, two for the Hall of the Independents and another for the group Les XX.

In 1890, he moved to Auver-Sur-Oise, where his mental health did not improve due to the reappearance of syphilis. This is where he finally shot himself in the chest with a revolver, to die two days later on July 29, 1890.

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