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Vincent Van Gogh

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S: Vincent Van Gogh

BC: Vincent van Gogh and his brother, Theo van Gogh were buried next to each other; Theo’s death following closely after Vincent’s. | Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890) Age 37 | Theodorus van Gogh (May 1, 1857 – January 25, 1891) Age 33

FC: Vincent van Gogh

1: In the distant land of France, came an ordinary man to greatness. In his life he was nothing more than another penniless painter, but in death he is known widely as one of history's greatest artists. | The Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh

2: Though the paintings you know are bright and wonderful, my life showed the opposite of such color in my childhood. When I was young, I seldom spoke and was very serious about school. I moved to many different schools and, distressingly, moved farther and farther from my home. I learned to draw in Paris by a man who supported the logical approach to the subject, a man of which I abruptly left teachings two years later. My youth was gloomy and cold and sterile.

3: After obtaining a position with an art dealer, helped by my uncle, I was transferred to London where I worked at Messrs. Goupil & Co. I was glad to be working there and, at 20, was already making more than my father. It was probably the happiest year of my life.

4: I soon fell in love with a wonderful woman named Eugénie Loyer, who was my landlady’s daughter.

5: When I was finally able to confess my feelings to her, though, she rejected me and told me that she was already engaged. She crushed me and my life instantly headed downhill. I became increasingly isolated and resentful at how art was treated as a commodity, and ultimately lost my job.

6: I lived in England began to teach in a small boarding school that overlooked a harbor, but I quickly ended that job after the school was relocated. I returned home and worked in a bookshop for six months. | However, I was not happy with this position and I doodled most often, unable to discard my passion. I delved further and further into religion as well, ultimately being sent to Amsterdam to study theology. But after failing the entrance exam I left to undertake a three-month course at a Protestant missionary school, which I also failed.

7: I became a temporary missionary and decided to live like those I preached to—sharing their hardships. I lived in a small hut and lived meagerly, but was overwhelmed with sadness in the squalid living condition I immersed myself in. I was dismissed not long after, and after returning home to stay with my parents, they conversed about having me be committed to the asylum at Geel due to conflicts with my father. | I lived with a young man for six months and I became increasingly interested in ordinary life and the scenes I found around myself. I drew more and more each day, and finally decided to take up art as my career.

8: I began to sketch random still life objects and even people, and for the first time, Paris became interested in my work. In the spring, I completed my first major work called ‘The Potato Eaters’. In the fall, my work was being exhibited for the first time in the windows of a paint dealer. Things were beginning to look up for me, and I continued to paint several groups of still-life paintings. | My paintings were still quite dark and depressing, but they were being noticed. I moved to France and discovered French impressionists and how beautiful life really was. Needless to say, I ditched my depressing art concept for the much brighter and more vivid idea of painting.

10: I spent two years in Paris and lived a fast life, painting over 200 paintings in that time. But I soon grew tired of it and planned to leave for the beautiful southern city of Arles. | I was taken by the landscape and light, decorating all of my new works in yellow, ultramarine and mauve for the time I was there. The vibrancy of the place brought excitement to my eyes and my appreciation was seen through my works as time went on.

11: After spending a year in Arles, my mood became more and more depressed and had began to go mad from stress and illness. I had even cut off a piece of my ear lobe and gave it to a local prostitute. I had moved rooms after a flood damaged my paintings. Around the same time when my anguish was at its breaking point, I wrote, “Sometimes moods of indescribable anguish, sometimes moments when the veil of time and fatality of circumstances, seemed to be torn apart for an instant.” Then I quickly left Arles and entered an asylum in Saint-Rémy.

12: During my stay, the garden became the main subject of my paintings. I became familiarized with swirls and painted one of my most known works ‘The Starry Night’. Though my interaction with the outside world was limited and so I did not have much to work with and became increasingly isolated. I felt like a prisoner.

13: At the peak of my ability, I grew even more agitated and frustrated. My depression deepened and deepened, ultimately resulting in shooting myself in the chest with a revolver. Although I survived, I did not realize my injuries to be fatal and died in a hotel two days later. | In my last weeks in Saint-Rémy, my thoughts had always been set on returning to my memories of the North and to my 70 oil paints that I had worked on during 70 days in Auvers-sur-Oise. After leaving the hospital, I began to experience episodes of mental illness more and more frequently, which was a severe setback and even denied me my ability to paint on several occasions.

14: "La tristesse durera toujours" "The sadness will last forever.” I spoke quietly to my brother, Theo, who was at my side at the time of my death.

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Darione Deslauriers
  • By: Darione D.
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  • Title: Vincent Van Gogh
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