Vincent van Gogh: The Tragic, Romantic Painter
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch painter who worked in France mostly during the 1880’s. He is known for his many great paintings, and more unfortunately, the removal of his ear which he gifted to a prostitute. Yikes!
Now it may not come as much of a surprise when it’s said that he spent a good deal of time in a mental institute. Would it be believed that he went widely unrecognized as a great artist until after his death? Tragic, isn’t it?
Art was not his first route as a career. After a painful rejection, Van Gogh spent his early years training to become a minister of the Methodist religion. He even earned the nickname “Christ of the Coal Mines” as we went to Belgium to preach to coal miners. However, the church did not like him preaching to criminals, as many of these coal miners were sent to work there as punishment. So, his contract to preach was not renewed and he was forced to turn to another occupation.
That occupation turned out to be art.
Now, “The Potato Eaters”, one of his early works, looks nothing like the artwork we have come to know from Van Gogh. This is because, he did not begin painting in the Post-Impressionist style until after he moved to France. Learning to paint and sketch on his own, he turned to studying well-known classical artists such as Charles Bargue and Jean-François Millet. You can see the similarity between Millet and van Gogh’s early work. Both artists were interested in depicting the working class and both have a realistic style of painting.
Vincent’s brother, Theo, worked as an art dealer. So he agreed to help support his older brother’s artwork while we was struggling to make it work.
However, van Gogh being the romantic he was, happened to continuously be rejected by women to whom he was attracted. He would go after the women that he perceived as needed rescuing, such as prostitutes. This got him in trouble with his family. He was threatened by them to get things straight or they would stop supporting him. Distraught, he began living as a nomad, using his artwork to help keep him emotionally stable.
He adopted the Post-Impressionist style of painting what was popular in France at the time. Inspired by light and color, he began working along side the painters Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissarro. He was not always favorable to work with and began alienating his friends.
Unfortunately, his tale is one that does not get any more heartwarming. After moving to a small house in the south of France, he began drinking heavily and spending his money on paint rather than food. His physical and mental health was so far deteriorated by the time of the “ear incident” that the act is not so surprising upon learning this. Not long afterward, he was hospitalized. In the asylum, he created many paintings of flowers, and most notably, “Starry Night”. Van Gogh’s artwork was just being recognized by the time of his death. His painting “The Red Vineyards” had just been sold by his brother at the time Vincent was being watched over by a physician.
Van Gogh took his own life on July 29th, 1890. His brother passed away 6 months later due to syphilis and grief from his brother’s death. Afterwards, Theo’s wife began collecting as much of Vincen’t art as she could. Finding over 2,100 paintings in oil paint, water color, and sketches, but there was reportedly more that were either destroyed or lost. On March 17, 1901, his paintings were shown in an art gallery in Paris. Today, they are being shown all over the world and are some of the most iconic painting to date.
Inspired by Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh’s post-impressionist work is characterized by the attention to light and the textured feel of his paintings. His best known work, “Starry Night”, has a beautiful color palette that is eye-popping and jaw-dropping. Using complementary colors, blue and orange, he creates a fanciful landscape from the view of his asylum bedroom window at night.
And in case you didn’t know, that wavy tower is actually a cypress bush as you can see in the preliminary sketch of “Starry Night”!
The decor that can come out of this color scheme is truly beautiful. Blue and yellow are such soothing colors to look at. My personal favorites are pictures above! And, as you know, I love wall murals! That cute little farm house too is a beautiful ode to Van Gogh’s sunflowers as well.
For my interior design, I chose to go the eclectic style! It’s a little bit of modern, mixed with a little bit of 1880’s decor. Vanities and tables with mirrors were very popular in the 1800’s. Ladies would spend time priming themselves in the mirror before going out for the day/evening. I love the idea of using a rustic, grey flooring such as Quick-Step Reclaime Castle Oak floors! Choosing decor with filligree and gold accents brings this in, while the modern bed and sconces match the color scheme of the artwork. The artwork, by the way, is done in a disjointed canvas style, which I really love for this particular piece! It reminds me of van Gogh’s broken mind, but his cohesive work. Symbolism in its finest! If you’re feeling it, add some sunflowers to your room as an added homage to his painting “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers”! Where better to make a Starry Night themed room than the bedroom?