Vincent Willem van Gogh, most commonly known as Vincent Van Gogh was born in the southern Netherlands, in a town called Zundert, in March of 1853. The Dutch painter became one of the most famous figures in art history – if not the most famous – creating over two thousand artworks during about a decade of production. Van Gogh concluded an enormous amount of paintings during the last two years of his life as he was afflicted, becoming known as the “tortured artist.” He grew up in a religious household, his father was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, a path Van Gogh was passionate about and began to study after he worked as an art dealer with his uncle.
In was only at twenty-seven years of age that Van Gogh began following an artistic career of his own, enrolling in the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in 1880, located in Brussels, Belgium. In 1885, the Dutch artist concluded his first masterpiece entitled The Potato Eaters, an oil painting portraying a family of peasants sitting at the table in a dark room. This artwork, along with many other of Van Gogh’s works, was influenced by the past Dutch masters of the Baroque movement like Peter Paul Rubens, with its dramatic shadows, as well as the Realists, who often painted workers of the rural areas.
Throughout his entire artistic career, Van Gogh was unable to sell his paintings, even with the constant help of his brother, Theo, who was an art dealer. Theo was one the main supporters of Van Gogh’s production, receiving his work by mail and attempting to sell them. In fact, most of the information known about the artist’s production came from the letters he wrote to his brother in exquisite detail about his artistic process, as well as details about his personal life, his goals, and ambitions. At the beginning of his production, Van Gogh had a dark and earthy color palette, and after receiving some insight from Theo, he began to brighten his paintings. During this period, the Impressionists were gaining a great deal of attention for their avant-guard style of work, which inspired Van Gogh to experiment with a more modern style of painting.
In 1886, because of financial troubles, the artist moved to Paris to live with Theo and came in direct contact with the Impressionist painters. During this period, the Post-Impressionist’s work changed radically, experimenting with brighter color pallets and looser brush strokes. Two years later, Van Gogh moved to Arles, where he began an art studio called The Yellow House in hopes of working alongside Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh produced his series of sunflower paintings to show his friend his enthusiasm with the new studio, but after attempts of working together, the artists reached a crises point, and Van Gogh had an enormous breakdown mutilating his own ear. During the last phase of his career and life, the Van Gogh entered the Saint-Rémy asylum, where he produced his most famous artworks. The artist passed away in July of the next year at the age of 37.