Top 10 facts Interesting facts about Vincent Van Gogh



“Self-portrait” by Vincent Van Gogh using the Pointillism technique, 1887 – WikiCommons

“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.” – Quote By Vincent van Gogh

 An artist may seem shy and introverted but give them a canvas and you will get to know them in the loudest and expressive way. Such an artist is Vincent Van Gogh, a Dutch painter, who used his colourful pieces to express himself.

Vincent was born on 30th March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. Vincent had 7 siblings. His father was a pastor in a small village in Zundert.

He was brought up in a religious setting and his mother is known to have been very prayerful especially for her children.

It is interesting to learn that while growing up; Vincent was very sensitive, lacked confidence and was conflicted about his identity and direction in life.

He struggled to find his true calling and believed for the longest time that he was meant to be a preacher of the gospel; this could be due to his upbringing.

By the time he discovered his love for art and became a painter, he had gone through challenging phases in his life.

He had an unsuccessful career as a clerk in a book store, two failed romantic affairs and was dismissed by the locals in Borinage, Belgium, for being too enthusiastic about his preaching.

1. Vincent was a naughty child

Of his 6 living siblings (the eldest brother died during birth) Vincent was the most difficult child. He gave his mother so much worry that she constantly prayed for him and asked her close and honourable friends to get Vincent a noble profession.

Vincent was considered shy and sensitive on one hand while also being weird and obsessive on the other hand. He got this attributes from his mother but also the artistic side of it; his mother Anna, loved knitting, writing, drawing and reading.

 2. Vincent studied art in Belgium

brown concrete wall house

After a failed preaching career, Vincent Van Gogh remained in Belgium to study art in a quest to share happiness by creating beauty. In his early work Vincent used very little colour, and used a dull but sharp hue. His famous piece is “The Potato Eaters” in 1885.

He later went to Antwerp where he discovered the works of Rubens and bought a lot of Japanese prints. In pursuit of more art culture, he went to Paris where his younger brother Theo lived and was a manager of Goupil’s gallery.

It is here that Vincent studied with Cormon, where as fate would have it, met Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin. He admired these new impressionist painters and attempted to follow their techniques by adding colour to his paintings and painted in short brush strokes just as they did.

3. Vincent had an entrepreneurial streak

The yellow house. wikicommons

After unsuccessfully attempting to imitate the new impressionist painting style, Vincent came up with his own more bold and avant-garde style.

In 1888, he moved south to Arles, France, and got a four-roomed house hopeful that his friends and like-minded artists would join him in starting an art school. His first house was on top of a restaurant unbefitting for his dream “studio of the south” so he moved.

In May that year Van Gogh rented a four-roomed house. He was so thrilled about this new “win” because it fit perfectly his dream studio. He wrote to his brother Theo bursting with joy about his new find and the colour of the house which was yellow.

His dream of working with his artistic friends was short-lived. He had a falling out with Gauguin due to Vincent’s temperaments which ultimately affected Vincent’s health.

4. Vincent had an affinity to the colour Yellow

mixed paint on palette with candle

It was not by chance that Vincent used the colour yellow in his paintings from his collection in Arles.

Vincent had a medical condition that affected his eyesight. He had a colour vision deficiency known as Xanthopsia where there is predominance of yellow vision due to yellowing of the optical media of the eye.

Historians believe that Van Goghs’ deficiency was due to an overdose of his favourite alcoholic drink.

5. Vincent Van Gogh’s first sold his art at the age of 30

In 1882 and 1883 Vincent Van Gogh lived in The Hague here he got his first art pieces commissioned by an art dealer.

This period in his life proved to be productive as he continued to perfect his painting skill and explored similar yet fresh subject matter. He was able to sell several cityscape art pieces to an uncle who was an art dealer.

 6. Vincent Van Gogh’s time at the asylum in Saint-Rémy

Towards the end of 1888, Vincent Van Gogh attacked his friend Gauguin with a razor and ended up slicing a portion of his own ear lobe off.

This was followed by a series of madness fits and confusing lucidity. He was sent to an asylum in Saint-Rémy for treatment.

In 1890, after he was feeling much better, he went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the care of Dr. Gatchet.

7. Vincent became an inspiration

Vincent van Gogh is regarded as the greatest Dutch painter since Rembrandt.

Even though he garnered only a very limited following during his lifetime, his artistic style had a substantial impact on scores of artists who followed.

His works prelude the development of the Fauvism, Expressionism and Modernism schools of the 20th century.

Vincent’s influence on modern art is extraordinary despite him not living to see his talent recognized. The shy and highly sensitive boy could never have dreamt that he would be a lasting source of inspiration for subsequent generations of artists.

8. Vincent expressed himself in writing

As an artist, Vincent had the canvas to express himself, but he also loved to write. He wrote numerous letters to his mother and brother Theo.

In these letters he would passionately describe and explain his art to them. He would share his inspiration and future aspirations as well. He took on writing to be his personal means of expression.

9. Vincent painted a lot during his final days

With his illness exacting an increasing toll on his daily activities, the last months of Vincent van Gogh’s life were nevertheless his most productive.

Amid gradually increasing recognition for his work, he entered a period of extreme fruitfulness during his final 60 days on earth. Wheatfield with Crows is believed to be the last work of Vincent van Gogh.

10. Vincent Van Gogh’s art lives on

The career of Vincent van Gogh as a painter was short, but his paintings revolutionized artistic practice and styles.

The intensity of his vision, his wonderful use of colour, and the extraordinary boldness of his technique created masterpieces that exercised a profound influence on the art of the twentieth century.

At the time of his death in 1890, Vincent Van Gogh had created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life.