"The way to know life is to love many things." —Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was a 19th century Dutch artist who was unsuccessful during his lifetime but has since become one of the most famous, influential, and profitable artists in history.
Van Gogh was born in 1853 in the town of Zundert. He was a missionary before he became a painter, although few of his works have religious subjects. His style is often classified as post-impressionist or expressionist, though neither really captures his singular contributions to art and culture.
Van Gogh created over 2,000 pieces of art; many of his most famous ones are still lifes, landscapes, and nature paintings, including the iconic "Starry Night," which is at the MOMA in New York City. Features of his work are the bold use of color, dramatic brush strokes, thick layers of paint, and an ineffable energy that leaps off the canvas.
Van Gogh suffered from mental illness, famously cut off his ear, and sold very few paintings while he was alive. In 1890, at the age of 37, he took his own life in France. In a bitter irony, his paintings are now held by some of the world's most prestigious museums and sell for tens of millions of dollars.
In a further irony, this deeply disturbed and intense artist has become part of pop and mass culture. Aside form his paintings appearing on everything from coffee mugs to umbrellas, Van Gogh has been the subject of numerous films, a few of which are Lust for Life, Vincent & Theo, and At Eternity's Gate.
If you're researching Van Gogh, you'll want to look into his relationship with his brother, Theo, and with the French artist Paul Gauguin. You might also want to look at the website for the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam: vangoghmuseum.nl/en.