Life of Famed Painter Vincent Term Paper

Pages: 11 (3129 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)


He loved the area and chose a life of poverty instead of returning home. For more than a year he lived from day-to-day trying to survive.

One day Vincent felt compelled to visit the home of Jules Breton, a French painter he greatly admired, so with only ten francs in his pocket he walked the entire 70 kilometers to Courrieres, France, to see Breton. Upon arriving, however, Vincent was too timid to knock and returned to Cuesmes utterly discouraged (Van Gogh ("

It was at that point, with no money and no prospects that Van Gogh turned to art as an outlet. He began drawing the coal miners and their families.

With no money and no hope of a prosperous future it would seem Van Gogh would be depressed but he was never one to give up or give in. Instead of despair he decided he would become an artist. The first thing he did was go to Brussels to study art while his brother helped support him during this endeavor. The brothers were always close and most of what the world now knows about Van Gogh comes from the more than 700 letters that were written to his brother Theo (Van Gogh (

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Vincent seemed to be on his way when he fell in love with a young widow and began to obsess over her. During this time she rejected his attempts and he fell into despair. For the first time in his life he was being faced with an obstacle he could not change no matter how much he wanted to change it. When the woman spurned him one tragic night he went to her parent's home to confront her but her father refused to let Van Gogh see the woman of his affections. Van Gogh placed his hand over an oil lamp and said he would not stop till he saw the woman, at which time the dad blew out the lamp and humiliated Van Gogh (Van Gogh (

Term Paper on Life of Famed Painter Vincent Assignment

Vincent van Gogh met Clasina Maria Hoornik (1850-1904) in late February 1882, in The Hague. Already pregnant with her second child when Van Gogh met her, this woman, known as "Sien," moved in with Vincent shortly afterward. Vincent lived with Sien for the next year and a half. Their relationship was a stormy one, partly due to both of their volatile personalities and also because of the strain of living in complete poverty. Vincent's letters to Theo show him to be devoted to Sien and especially her children, but his art was always his first passion -- to the exclusion of all other concerns, including food. Sien and her children posed for dozens of drawings for Vincent, and his talents as an artist grew considerably during this period (Van Gogh ( early, more primitive drawings of the coal miners in the Borinage made way for far more refined and emotion-laden works. In the drawing Sien, Sitting on a Basket, with a Girl, for example, Vincent masterfully depicts quiet domesticity, as well as an underlying sense of despair -- feelings which would truly define Van Gogh's 19 months living with Sien (Van Gogh ("

Never one to sit still in life Van Gogh began to experiment with oil paintings. This helped influence the expressionism genre as well as he worked to bring the colors into a new realm for his patrons.

When his relationship with Sein ended he returned to Nuenen were his parents resided and worked to fine tune his ability to create works of art. During this time he painted and drew dozens of works using local peasants as subjects as well as the environment that they lived in.

Vincent's romantic life took yet another dramatic and unhappy turn that summer. Margot Begemann (1841-1907), whose family lived next door to Vincent's parents, had been in love with Vincent, and the emotional upheaval of the relationship lead her to attempt suicide by poison. Vincent was greatly distraught over the incident. Margot eventually recovered, but the episode upset Vincent a great deal and he referred to it in his letters on a number of occasions (Van Gogh ("

He worked hard on his craft changing things he believed did not work until he developed a style that was historical. It led to his first well-known great painting The Potato Eaters.

Vincent worked on The Potato Eaters throughout April of 1885. He had produced various drafts in preparation of the final, large oil on canvas version. The Potato Eaters is acknowledged to be Vincent van Gogh's first true masterpiece and he was encouraged by the outcome (Van Gogh ( angered and upset by any criticism of the work (Vincent's friend and fellow artist, Anthon van Rappard (1858-1892), disliked the work and his comments would prompt Vincent to end their friendship), Vincent was pleased with the result and thus began a new, more confident and technically accomplished phase of his career (Van Gogh ("

Part of the changes the genre underwent were based in the changes that the artist went through. Known for becoming restless he continued to enroll in studies and drop out a short time later.

He then moved to Paris and the influence that Paris had on his art is undeniable. "There's no question that Van Gogh was influenced by the methods of the Impressionists, but he always remained faithful to his own unique style. Throughout the two years Van Gogh would incorporate some of the techniques of the Impressionists, but he never let their powerful influence overwhelm him (Van Gogh (" It was in Paris that he moved away from the dark colors of before and into the lighter tones and shades that became the method of his later works.

While he was in Paris he indulged in smoking, drinking heavily and not eating correctly. All of this took a toll on the artist both physically and mentally.

During the bleak winter months in Paris of 1887-88 Van Gogh became restless. And the same pattern was re-emerging. Van Gogh's two years in Paris had a tremendous impact on his ongoing evolution as an artist. But he had acquired what he was seeking and it was time to move on. Never truly happy in large cities, Vincent decided to leave Paris and follow the sun, and his destiny, south (Van Gogh ("

He moved to Arles and as usual when the sun was shining so did the artist and when the bad weather came his mood spiraled down. One time during the most depressing of his times Van Gogh had a fit of anger in which he angrily chopped off his earlobe.

He severed the lobe with a razor, wrapped it in cloth and then took it to a brothel and presented it to one of the women there. Vincent then staggered back to the Yellow House where he collapsed. He was discovered by the police and hospitalized at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Arles (Van Gogh ("

He recovered from the injury but a short time later agreed to be placed in an asylum. It was discovered there by doctors that the artist had epilepsy which explained all of his fits of rage because some types of the disorder can cause that to happen.

His famed Starry Night painting was completed while locked away in the asylum.

There were ups and downs with the painter that contributed to his visions of canvas need.

For two months Van Gogh was unable to leave his room and wrote to his sister: "... when I am in the fields I am overwhelmed by a feeling of loneliness to such a horrible extent that I shy away from going out...." (Letter W14) (Van Gogh ("

Eventually Van Gogh's brother rescued him from the asylum and let him come to Paris and supported him so he could relax, paint and live. He kept painting and for all intents and purposes seemed to be getting well mentally and physically.

To his mother and sister Vincent wrote: "For the present I am feeling much calmer than last year, and really the restlessness in my head has greatly quieted down." (Letter 650)."

Van Gogh shot and killed himself in 1890 and with him went one of the most promising and complicated artists in history. His work is admired today as well as his contribution to the world of art and the genre of expressionism.

Bowl of Potatoes

Two Peasant Women Digging in Field with Snow


Van Gogh

Walther, Ingo. Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings

TASCHEN America Llc; (October 2001)

The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh: With Reproductions of All the Drawings in the Correspondence. (Classic 1990)

Lubin, Albert. Stranger on the Earth: A Psychological Biography of Vincent Van Gogh

DaCapo Press; Reprint edition (September 1996)

Van Gogh, Vincent. Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh

Plume; Reprint edition (September 1995) [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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