Vincent Van Gogh – The Man, the Painter, the Master!

Vincent Willem van Gogh or Vincent van Gogh or Van Gogh or Vincent Gogh, was one of the finest Dutch artists, who is also called as the father of Expressionism. Most of Van Gogh’s works were heavily influenced by colors that described the divine spirit of man and nature, in dramatic and powerful ways. The range of colors he used, moving from very dark or morbid color palette to brighter colors, provide an oversight into his troubled life and his struggle against his unbalanced mental state, which eventually took his life at an early age of 37.

Vincent was born in a village of Southern Netherlands, Groot-Zundert. He was the son of Anna Cornelia Carbentus and Theodorus van Gogh, a minister with the Dutch Reformed Church. At an early age of fifteen, in July 1869, he obtained a position with an art dealer, Goupil & Cie at The Hague Gallery. By the age of twenty, Van Gogh was pulling in more greenbacks than his father did. This was also the same time where his first rejection in love happened. This phase marked a series of step down in his life, which can be felt and seen later in his drawings. For the second time again he felt love had failed him, was when his recently widowed cousin Kee, who was seven years older than Vincent, the daughter of his mother’s elder sister, refused his proposal. The girl’s father also made it clear to Vincent that his daughter cannot marry him, as he was not financially sound & strong enough to support and start a family. The rejection affected him deeply and he left for Hague, where his painter cousin-in-law encouraged him towards painting. Another unsuccessful relationship with an alcoholic prostitute drove him further to loneliness and isolation.

Later in Nuenen in 1880, Van Gogh immersed himself in drawing and painting. One of his major works, The Potato Eaters (Dutch De Aardappeleters) (spring, 1885), was recognized after his father’s death at which he grieved deeply. In the same year, he moved to Paris. It was the same time he moved from dark tones to a bright color palette when Theodorus (or Theo), his brother suggested to him to use bright colors to make his paintings more saleable. This is where Vincent discovered Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism styles of painting. In 1888, he moved to Arles, France, where he created another famous piece, Flowering Orchards, while his unsettled mental state deteriorated further. During the last few years of his life, he did not paint much because of his deepening depression. He was getting depressed with every passing hour and with every new painting. Around December 1888, there was a major shift in his mental state, which resulted in his self-destruction and suicide.

The life of Vincent van Gogh has been the subject of inspiration for generation of painters, filmmakers, musicians etc. In 1971, Don McLean dedicated a song, “Vincent,” to Van Gogh’s painting, which is named after his masterpiece, “The Starry Night.” Most modern art forms and abstract art movements have gained from Gogh’s probes into gestural marks. Van Gogh has immortalized himself with his work and still lives on in the hearts of the present generation of art enthusiasts.