Vincent Van Gogh

Welcome to our fine art related articles covering the famous fine artists. In this article, we look at the life of Vincent Van Gogh, the creator of some of the most famous pieces of fine art of all time.

Vincent van Gogh, the artists who creatively used colour as his main symbol of expression, was born in the town of Groot-Zundert, in Holland.

His father was a pastor and brought up the young Vincent in an atmosphere of religious teachings and great culture.

Early Beginnings

In his early years, Vincent lacked self-confidence and was highly emotional, a trait common amongst those with inherent creative genius.

He finally made the decision to become an artist between 1860 and 1880, following two rather unsuitable and thoroughly unhappy romances when he worked in several unsuccessful positions as a bookshop clerk, then an art salesman and finally a preacher in Belgium's dreary mining district of the Borinage. There he was dismissed for his overzealous practices.

Vincent van Gogh remained in Belgium in order to study art, as he was determined to produce happiness by being the creator of beauty. The several works created during his early Dutch period can be best described as sombre-toned, somewhat sharply lit, genre type paintings.

Of these, probably the best known is the 1815 work, "The Potato Eaters." Later in that year, Vincent van Gogh travelled to the Belgium capital, Antwerp where he discovered the fascinating works of the fine artist Rubens and he purchased several Japanese prints.

In 1886 van Gogh travelled to Paris to join up with his brother Théo, who was working as the manager of Goupil's gallery. It was in Paris that van Gogh studied with Cormon, where he also met some of the great artists such as Monet, Pissarro and Gauguin.

During this time, he began to lighten his once rather dark palette and there began to paint in the much shorter brushstroke style of the impressionist artists.

Van Gogh's nervous temperament created social problems for him and he was a difficult companion to be with. The many night long discussions he had with other artists combined with his day long painting gradually undermined his health. He later decided to travel south to Arles.

There he had hoped his friends would be joining him and help him found a premier school of art. Gauguin failed to join him there and disastrous results ensued.

It was in a fit of epilepsy that van Gogh deliberately pursued his friend with a sharp open razor. He was prevented from doing the friend harm by Gauguin, but in the struggle ended up slicing off a portion of his own ear lobe.

Following this incident, Vincent van Gogh's mental state began alternating between fits of lunacy and lucidity, resulting in him being sent to the Saint-Remy asylum for treatment.

In May, 1890, van Gogh had recovered somewhat and travelled again to end up living in Auvers-sur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. This did not save him, unfortunately as barely two months later van Gogh was dead.

Vincent had shot himself "for the good of all."

During the brief but prolific artistic career of Vincent van Gogh, he sold but one painting. His arguably finest works were created in a time spanning fewer than three years. His technique had grown more and more impassioned in his brushstroke, as well as in intense yet symbolic colour, with a fine surface tension conveying great movement and vibration of his powerfully emotional form and line.

Vincent van Gogh's genius-fuelled fusion of content and form is hugely powerful. His fine art creations display dramatic traits which are lyrically rhythmic, incredibly imaginative and tensely emotional.

Van Gogh was completely absorbed in his artistic efforts which go some way to explaining his struggle against madness or alternatively his lucid comprehension of the spiritual essence that drives both man and nature.

Janice White

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