Life of Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh is commonly known for his appalling event of cutting his ear off and/or for his famous artwork called “Starry Night”. However, there is more to Vincent than meets the eye. Vincent had a unique background of work where he was a salesman in an art gallery, a teacher, a theology student and did missionary work in the coal-mining district of Belgium. While he was finding his true calling at age 27, Van Gogh went back and forth living with his parents and brother due to the unfulfillment and lack of financial stability.

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On the bright side, while Van Gogh was living with his parents or living with his brother, he was able to study with many painters and improve his artistic skills. During this time, Vincent’s primary focus was documenting the lifestyle and hardship of families in poverty. In April of 1885, Vincent van Gogh produced his famous art piece called “The Potato Eaters” but of course at the time Vincent hadn’t realized what he had created, would soon be loved and admired by millions of people.

After sharing his newest piece of art, he went on to the Academy of Antwerp in 1886, where he began working and improving his art techniques of line. It was then that Van Gogh decided to move with his brother once again. However, this time it seemed to shine a light in Vincent’s way as he met many talented French painters, including his friend Paul Gauguin.

In 1888, Vincent developed and perfected Post-Impressionism, which not many artists used. Vincent became mentally and physically unstable as he drank and smoked. He became depressed and unsatisfied with his lifestyle, so he moved to Provence. While living in Provence, Vincent was once happy and felt as if Provence was the place where painters could live and work together. He tried to persuade his friend Gauguin to leave Paris and join him.

Their friendship was all well until Vincent became depressed and started to argue. In one argument between the two, Vincent took a razor and cut off his left ear. He went to a brothel where he proposed his ear to a prostitute. After the incident with his ear, Vincent van Gogh continued to have several breakdowns causing him to get hospitalized and even seek help in an asylum.

After seeking help at the asylum, Vincent moved back with his brother and had homeopathic treatment. A doctor, Paul Gachet, was taking care of him every day. He was stable throughout June and July of 1890, but around the end of July, Vincent van Gogh took his supplies to the field and committed suicide.

During his years of living with his parents, Vincent van Gogh painted many peasant families living in poverty. One of his famous paintings called “The Potato Eaters” originated from that passion. In one of his letters, he explains that peasant people are and who he perceived to be “closer to nature than other people.” He observed a particular poor family and saw that the point is “that these people eating potatoes by the light of their lamp, have dug the earth with the self-same hands they are now putting into their dish, and it thus suggests manual labor and a meal honestly earned.” This was a way for him to understand the relationship between a rural life and the cycles of nature. After showing locals and “civilized people” his artwork, many criticized the painting and disliked it.

brush strokes give and the overall feeling it invokes. It is a painting that can make you feel different emotions depending on what you focus on. In addition, van Gogh’s mental health struggles and eventual suicide add another layer of complexity and fascination to his life and artwork. Overall, Vincent van Gogh’s unique style and impactful paintings have earned him a well-deserved place in the world of art history.

Sky creates (almost like a dream), the strokes from the brushes indicating each movement that is made on purpose and not by accident, the way the moon shines down on a dark set of houses, and the greenery that is displayed amongst the sky and the houses. I think it is safe to say Vincent van Gogh is my favorite artist. I admired his admiration of peasant people and their relationship with realism and naturalism compared to civilized people he was used to seeing or used to know. His background of work and studies is more than I anticipated he would do. It shocked me to know he was trying to be a minister and did missionary work, since he is well known for his depression and absurd actions like cutting his ear off and offering it to a prostitute. In conclusion, I chose Vincent van Gogh because he is mainly a painter with an ordinary background and sees the truth in the world despite his epileptic episodes.

Work Cited:

– Gogh, Vincent van. “The Potato Eaters.” Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1 Jan. 1885,
– “MoMA Learning.” Lee Bontecou. Untitled. 1959 | MoMA,
– Petersen, Jennifer B., and Joshua Pritchard. “Vincent Van Gogh.” Vincent Van Gogh, Aug. 2017, p. 1. EBSCOhost,
– Potter, Polyxeni. “‘Sometimes the Naked Taste of Potato Reminds Me of Being Poor.’ (Cover Story).” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 15, no. 6, June 2009, pp. 1001–1002. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3201/eid1506.000000.
– “Vincent Van Gogh Artworks & Famous Paintings.” The Art Story, The Art Story Contributors,

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Life of van Gogh. (2022, Nov 17). Retrieved from