Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated and well known artists in the world. The French painter became famed for his impressionistic style of artistry, but only after his death. He also had a fascinating life of artistic endeavours, battles with mental illness, financial hardships and more.
Here are some fascinating facts about Van Gogh that you may not have known about until now!
#1: He Had a Family of Vincents
Vincent Van Gogh (the painter) was not the only member of his family to carry that name. In fact, there were 4 other family members with the exact same name as he! Vincent was originally named after his stillborn elder brother, who was also named after their grandfather, Vincent Van Gogh. Later, the painter also became an uncle to another namesake when his brother Theo named his child Vincent as well.
#2: He Started His Career at 27
Many famous artists began painting in their teens or even their childhood years, but this was not the case with Van Gogh. Vincent only began to paint at the age of 27, and taught himself his own trademark techniques. Nowadays, more convenient sources of entertainment like the ability to play Roulette online are available!
His earlier works are not the brightly coloured, impressionist works that he is known for today. When he started out, he used a dull colour palette and harsh subject matter, favouring themes like poverty and emotional challenges.
#3: He Was Good Friends with Gaugin
Van Gogh had a close friendship with another iconic painter of the time, Paul Gaugin. The two met in Paris in 1887, and painted together often. Despite this, their artistic styles remained vastly different. Van Gogh’s friendship with Gaugin seemingly ended after his self-mutilation incident, which involved both artists.
#4: He Documented His Life with Letters
Vincent penned more than 800 letters during his life, most of which to his brother and confidant Theo, his friends Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard, and a few others. Most of his letters do not offer dates, but still offer an extensive source of information about the artist’s life and interpersonal relationships.
Over 600 of the recovered letters were exchanged between himself and his brother, telling of their lifelong friendship and of Van Gogh’s artistic theories. Theo kept all of these letters, and after both Van Goghs had passed away, Theo’s wife Johanna collated and edited them, publishing them later in 1914.
#5: He Was a Jack of All Trades
Van Gogh tried out many other careers before becoming an artist. Before painting, he tried his hand at teaching schoolchildren, preaching, and dealing in art.
#6: He Created Thousands of Works
Van Gogh’s artistic life did not last very long, but in his decade of artistry he managed to create over 2,100 works, including 860 oil paintings. Many of those paintings were only done in the last 2 years of his life.
#7: He Only Became Iconic in Death
Van Gogh only sold 1 painting during his lifetime – the Red Vineyards Near Arles. However, after his death the public began to realise his brilliance, and today his works are some of the most valuable in the world.
#8: He Suffered from Mental Illness
Vincent was plagued by mental illness and spent much time in psychiatric hospitals like Saint-Remy. Modern scientists believe that he suffered from bipolar disorder and psychotic episodes, which were worsened by a poor diet and heavy drinking.
#9: He Cut Off His Own Ear
There are dozens of theories surrounding Van Gogh’s removal of his ear. A prevalent one states that the artist took a razor to it and severed it after a fight with his friend Paul Gaugin. Rumour has it that he then wrapped up the ear in paper and delivered it to a brothel which he and his friend both frequented.