Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) grew up in a religious household as the son of a pastor in Holland. His life is often described as tortured with anxiety and mental illness to the point that he sliced off a part of his own earlobe. Vincent apparently took his own life, although no gun was ever found. Van Gogh’s mastery and perspective was not recognised or appreciated in his lifetime. Even though many of his works feature on the list of most expensive paintings sold at auction, Vincent himself only sold one painting while he was alive.
Vinvent originally wanted to continue in the line of his father as a pastor and took up a job preaching in Belgium. However, he was dismissed from his pastoral duties in Belgium for being overly meddlesome in the affairs of his congregation. He remained in Belgium to study art where he created his earliest works. They show signs of his unique style but not the colour and emotion so particular to him. Before he dedicated his life to his art, he also took up a job as an art dealer where he was exposed to many artists and movements which contributed to the definition of his post-impressionistic style.
When Vincent moved to Paris to be with his brother Theo, he was introduced to the impressionists painting there. He began to lighten his colour palette and work on a technique of quick short brushstrokes like the impressionist painters of the time. Van Gogh had a very close relationship with his brother Theo who cared for him throughout his battle with mental illness. Even though he only lived to 37, most of his greatest works were created in a period of three years during which his struggle with his illness and his need to express the connection between man and nature are beautifully depicted in every stroke of his brush.
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