Netherlands: Vincent Van Gogh
“Find things beautiful as much as you can, most people find too little beautiful.” Vincent Van Gogh
One of the most famous painters in the world, Vincent Van Gogh was born in the mid-1800s in the southern part of the Netherlands. There, the artist had humble beginnings. At 16, he started working as a trainee for an art dealer, a teacher, and even a Protestant missionary. However, he often suffered from depression, and didn’t settle in any of these jobs.
At 27, Vincent devoted himself to painting. Primarily self-taught, he moved to Paris in 1886 to live with his brother, who supported him both emotionally and financially so that he could focus on creating art.
In 1888, Vincent moved to Arles, a city in the south of France. It was during this period that he worked on two series of still-life paintings called Sunflowers. Vincent painted his sunflowers in vivid colors, with a range of yellows and oranges that gave the flowers a sense of movement.
It was in Arles that Vincent began to experiment with color. In a letter to his brother, he described how he had even made paintings of his house: “I have painted the walls pale violet. The ground with checked material. The wooden bed and the chairs, yellow like fresh butter; the sheet and the pillows, lemon light green. The bedspread, scarlet colored. The window, green. The washbasin, orangey; the tank, blue. The doors, lilac. And, that is all.”
For the rest of his life, Van Gogh suffered mental illness and hallucinations. This led many people in Arles to consider him a madman. In 1889, he was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Sometimes his illness meant he did nothing and at other times he was filled with creative activity. His works show these personality changes in the intense colors he used. Van Gogh created his most famous work ‘The Starry Night’ (1889) while staying in a mental hospital in France.
In 1890, at just 37 years old, Van Gogh died from a gunshot injury. In a short period of ten years, this talented artist had completed more than 2,100 works.
During his life, he had sold only one painting. However, other artists and his brother Theo promoted his work, and today, Vincent van Gogh is considered one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen.