Vincent van Gogh Post- impressionist painter

Fun Facts about Vincent van Gogh:

  • He suffered from "temporal lobe epilepsy" (unprovoked focal seizures), as well as other mental and physical conditions.
  • In a short period of ten years, he made approximately 900 paintings.
  • He only sold one painting during his lifetime, and became famous after his death.
  • His earliest career aspiration was to be a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church, just like his father (
Vincent van Gogh


  • Vincent was born on March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands.
  • He died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, on July 29, 1890, at age 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • His father, Theodorus van Gogh, was an austere country minister, and his mother, Anna Cornelia Carbentus, was an emotional artist whose passion for nature, drawing, and watercolors influenced her son.
  • He lived in the Netherlands during his childhood, but was forced to leave school at the age of 15 and find work in his Uncle Cornelis' art dealership, Goupil & Cie., a firm of art dealers in The Hague, due to financial problems with his family.
  • In June of 1873, van Gogh was transferred to the Groupil Gallery in London. He visited art galleries in his spare time, and became greatly influenced by the writings of Charles Dickens and George Eliot.
  • When his landlady's daughter, Eugenie Loyer, rejected his proposial, he became angry at all forms of artwork, and dedicated his life to God and the Bible.
  • He taught in a Methodist boys' school, preached to the congregation, and dedicated his life to the church.
  • After refusing to take the Latin exams to become a minister, he was denied entrance to the church and moved to Brussels in 1980 to become an artist.
  • He self- taught himself, greatly influenced by books such as Travaux des champs by Jean-François Millet, and Cours de dessin by Charles Bargue (

Important ideas of Vincent van Gogh:

  • In Paris, van Gogh was first introduced to impressionist art, and he was inspired by the unique use of color and light in it.
  • In the specific paintings explained and shown below, Vincent van Gogh painted clues in his masterpieces with the use of brushstroke, color, and illustrations within the paintings, some that would even foreshadow his own death.
  • The Potato Eaters, painted in 1885 and considered to be is first masterpiece, was painted while living among the peasants and laborers in the Netherlands. Van Gogh strove to depict the people and their lives truthfully, recreating the scene in a dull palette, illustrating the drab living conditions of the peasants, and using ugly models to further show the effects manual labor had upon these workers. His use of loose brushstrokes described the faces and hands of the peasants as they huddle around the singular, small lantern, eating their meager meal of potatoes.
The Potato Eaters
  • The Bedroom, painted in 1889, uses bold and vibrant colors to show his own perspective of his bedroom. He didn't see this room as "simply a bedroom," but suggestion to what happens to the brain during rest or sleep, showing the notion dreaming through vibrant colors. His personal interpretation of what happens to a human while resting majorly contributed to the deep emotions that can be seen in modern painting, because artists felt more confident about painting privet parts of their lives.
The Bedroom
  • Starry Night, painted in 1889, is known as van Gogh's most famous painting. He painted this landscape to emphasize his interior, emotional life, as seen by the swirling, tumultuous depiction of the sky - a drastic change from his previous, more naturalistic landscapes. The painting illustrates the spirituality that Van Gogh found in nature, and Starry Night is famous for advancing the act of painting beyond the representation of the physical world.
Starry Night
  • Church at Auvers, painted in 1890, is one of the most well-known images from the last few months of Van Gogh's life. The landscape is filled with emotion, showing vivid colors and a church caught in its own shadow, explaining his complex relationship to spirituality and religion. The use of the acidic tones and the darkness of the church alludes to the mental illness that would eventually erupt within Van Gogh and lead to his suicide (
Church at Auvers

Van Gogh's ideas presented to the world:

  • Vincent's ideas were presented to the world through the fashion in which he is well known for: paintings and drawings. However, these pieces of artwork were found revealed after his death by his brother's wife, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger.
  • The ideas about life that Vincent hid throughout his paintings such as peasant lives and mental illness were not revealed until after his death, when his paintings were found and given to museums.
  • People who personally knew van Gogh saw his physiological problems, not his art, viewing him as a very sick man, making his suicide expected and far from a surprise (

The importance of Van Gogh's art:

  • Vincent van Gogh's legacy became important after his life ended, as he inspired upcoming artists, many who still use his techniques to express their internal emotion in today's time.
  • The Fauves (a group of modern artists who painted with strong color over the representation of realistic values), and the German Expressionists worked immediately after Van Gogh, adopting his subjective and spiritually inspired use of color, showing the public a new and unique form of art.
  • The Abstract Expressionists of the mid-twentieth century also used van Gogh's technique of sweeping and expressive brushstrokes to indicate the artist's psychological and emotional state. His life has inspired music and films, such as Vincente Minelli's Lust for Life (1956), which explores van Gogh's internal relationship with himself.
  • In his lifetime, van Gogh created about 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches, but only sold one painting during his career. This means that in his lifetime, his ideas were not important because people never found out about them, therefore making his art and ideas unknown to the world (

The end of Vincent van Gogh:

  • Vincent's life ended when he shot himself in the chest one day in his art studio on July 29, 1890. Throughout his lifetime, he struggled with many mental and physical diagnoses, such as:
  • Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Thujone poisoning (from drinking paint)
  • Lead poisoning, and
  • Hypergraphia.
  • Van Gogh has been considered by many to be the mastermind at the root of modern art, decided by his approach to express the unique view he had on the world. His use of geometric and definitive forms, unnatural, bold and simplified colors, and sometimes symbolic content expressed the emotions traveling through his mind at any given moment, and inspires new artists every day to be bold with vibrant colors and release their emotions on the canvas (

Works Cited

11, 2013 Sandrine on October. "How Van Gogh and Post-Impressionism Influenced Modern Art." The Craftsy Blog. N.p., 27 Dec. 2016. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

Impact, The Net. "Vincent Van Gogh Gallery." Vincent Van Gogh Gallery. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

"Vincent Van Gogh Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works." The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

"Vincent Van Gogh." A&E Networks Television, 06 Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.


Created with images by Christopher S. Penn - "Van Gogh's Starry Night"

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