The Artist Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in Zundert, the Netherlands. Some historians crown him as the second best Dutch artist behind Rembrandt, a Dutch Master painter. The son of a Protestant clergyman, he was remembered as quiet in youth. At the age of sixteen, van Gogh became an apprentice to his uncle’s business venture, the art brokerage of Goupil and Co. in The Hague location. In this professional setting, he received exposure to works of art. Surely art dealing gave him an appetite for paints.

Van Gogh has been called a Post-Impressionist because he used bold colors and brush strokes for lively paintings like “Starry Night.” He is also known as a Symbolist in association with Paul Gaugin. They both shared the view that art is a religion. However, paintings like “Starry Night” are reminiscent of the use of abstraction and impressions of light just like the Impressionists.

Van Gogh loved the Dutch Masters like Rembrandt and Hals, but he also liked two living French painters—Jean-Francois Millet and Camille Corot. Millet was a French painter of noted Naturalist and Realist themes who helped to establish the Barbizon school. Corot was also a French painter who specialized in landscapes.

For over a century, the world has been fascinated by the romantic view of van Gogh as the artist in crazy agony. He became a painter in 1881 and committed suicide in 1890. In nine years, he created more than 800 pictures, including 70 works in the last 70 days of his life. Van Gogh struggled with mental illness and spent some time in an insane asylum. What is most remarkable is how prolific this Dutch painter was in a short period of time.

Vincent Van Gogh had a lasting impact on later art movements, including the Expressionists. His work commanded huge amounts in art auctions of the late 20th century. Van Gogh’s brilliant colors are also captured in “Self-Portrait” and “The Night Café” among others. Some paintings even show the influence of landscape artists of his lifetime. With the flourish in death as he had shown in life, van Gogh shot himself to death on July 29, 1890, at the tender age of 37 even as Europe was transitioning to the Art Nouveau movement.