Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890), Dutch painter considered the coolest madman in art history, He revolutionized impressionism with his works. Some, like The sunflowers or Starry Night, are still in fashion today, reproduced in a large amount of merchandising.
In this post we are going to see ten curiosities that you surely did not know about his melancholic life.
He studied theology and became a missionary
Van Gogh studied theology in Amsterdam, despite not knowing Latin or Greek. At the age of 26 he began his life as a missionary in a Belgian mining region, with the aim of evangelizing as many people as possible, at the same time that he donated all his possessions to those most in need. There he dedicated himself, while fulfilling his mission, to draw people.
He first picked up a paintbrush at the age of 28 and died at 37
All of his great creations took place during this short period. More than 2000 works, of which he only managed to sell a few. In the letters he sent to his brother Theo we can read:
“I am very happy with my paint box, I think I am going to start using it now, after having drawn almost exclusively for at least a year, because I think my real career begins with painting.”
He lived in the artists’ quarter of Paris, Montmartre
At the age of 33 he settled with his brother in the art capital of the time, Paris, in the quintessential artists’ neighborhood, Montmartre, meeting painting geniuses like Gauguin, whose influence is undoubted.
He filled his paintings with light in the French countryside
Tired of Paris, at two years he went to live in Arles, in the French countryside, with the idea of founding a community of artists together with his friend Gauguin. It is at this time that his paintings enter a period of light. He made three paintings about his bedroom in the house he lived in, which has become very famous.
He cut his ear after a fight with the painter Gauguin
The relationship with his friend begins to have disagreements, ending in a strong fight where Van Gogh cuts off his right ear. After this, it is said that he went to a brothel in the area and gave it to a prostitute. It is in the Arles hospital that he paints his famous Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889).
He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for his psychotic breakouts
Neighbors signed a petition to kick him out of Arles, for his strange behavior and his continuous scandals. He is admitted to a psychiatric hospital, for his strong psychotic outbreaks. He doesn’t stop painting here either, creating one of the most famous paintings of all time: The Starry Night. Epilepsy and chronic absinthe use are believed to have been the causes of her psychosis.
He paints The Starry Night from the window of his asylum cell
Van Gogh was fascinated by the stars and from the window he could see Venus: “I have seen the field before dawn from my crowded window, with nothing but the morning star, which was very large.” This painting is believed to represent the heavenly world (the stars in light-colored spirals) and the earthly world (the dark cypress and the village).
Foxglove could have caused vision in yellow halos
It is said that Dr. Gachet, who treated him in the psychiatric hospital, prescribed foxglove, a sedative and antiepileptic plant that can cause xanthopsia, vision in yellow halos, which could be the cause of his paintings with characteristic yellow tones, notably produced at this time.
Swirls, waves and spirals are characteristic in his paintings
This is believed to represent your nervous insides.
The brightness of your paintings diminishes over time due to toxic pigments
This is due to the use of the toxic and unstable chrome yellow color, which could also have affected the brilliant painter.
And it is that the life of Van Gogh, continues to surprise us in the XXI century!