Born in Netherlands in 1853, Vincent van Gogh, the son of a Dutch minister, did not start painting until the age of 27. Suffering from psychological issues his entire life, Van Gogh would eventually take his life seeing the world largely unmoved by his artistic efforts, selling only one painting during his existence as a painter. Today, Van Gogh has become one of the most renowned artists in the history of art. He is both famous and infamous for his evocative brand of painting, a style dependent heavily on the emotional state and impressionistic view of the painter. Why has this style captivated art critics and enthusiasts worldwide? What was the process by which Van Gogh developed this method and why? And what can be said of the man’s alleged psychosis in terms of his art?
Van Gogh early life and education was marred by obscurity. Whatever he studied as a youngster has been either lost in time or deemed rather irrelevant. By the time he was 16, he had begun work at the Hague gallery, likely given a connection with a family member in the art dealership business. In 1873, Van Gogh was transferred to London, and then to Paris. Having lost interest in the enterprise, he considered pursuing his father’s footsteps into the clergy, but dropped out of school to begin a ministry with the miners of Borinage. It proved be to a haunting experience, who, from a substantially more prosperous social class, began interacting with the working class peoples that would later saturate his depictions of peasant life. Deemed too fanatical in his religious lifestyle, the church at Borinage did not renew Van Gogh as a minister. It is after this that he made the most pressing decision of his life: to pursue a career in painting. The ...
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... until that period. Unfortunately, though considered a revolutionary work in the career of the artist today, The Potato Eaters were a failure in Van Gogh’s lifetime. Owning up to this, he joined an art academy. It was here that he was introduced to the works of Peter Paul Reuben’s, and to The Japanese Ukiyo-e style of woodblocks. The Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblocks, with their skewed perspectives and planar-like flatness that would refine Van Gogh’s interest in these two compositions. It was the painter’s brief studies in Antwerp that, it could be argued, were crucial to his assuredness of his style and skills. It is also in Antwerp that Van Gogh became quite adept at depicting the human face and form. In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris with his brother Theo, who had been supporting him financially. It was in Paris that Van Gogh finally dropped his use of muted colors and
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