An introduction to Vincent Van Gogh

Art, Art Culture, Communication, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Van Gogh, Vincent Van Gogh, Visual Culture

Vincent Van Gogh was an unknown painter throughout his life, financially supported by his younger brother Theo Van Gogh. Born March 30 1853, exactly a year after his older brother who was stillborn also named Vincent. Born in the Netherlands Van Gogh travelled to France where he pursued his painting career in which only made him famous after his tragic death, which is thought to have been suicide having shot himself. He produced over 2,100 pieces of artwork over the ten years of his painting life, which includes around 860 oil paintings and a further 1,300 sketches, watercolours and drawings, some of which are now within the worlds most expensive artworks.

Throughout Van Gogh’s life it is evident he suffered with a psychological illness, as we all know he was famous for cutting off his own ear and giving it to a prostitute telling her to look after it carefully. You may have seen his self portrait with a bandage wrapped round his head, ‘Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear’.



This is quite a chilling painting, it really captures Van Gogh’s suffering, with the sharpness of his eyes and the thick coat implies agony and the pain he is enduring both physically and psychologically.

Art helped Van Gogh deal with his problems and illnesses however, sometimes life got a bit all too much for him, he found himself bickering with other artists and often rejected by women, he felt guilty for being his brothers burden and frequently felt worthless, art seemed to keep him busy and his mind occupied, emotionally stable you could say.

Although when it all got too much Van Gogh retreated to an asylum to get better, In 1890 Dr Gachet took Van Gogh as one of his patients, he believed art would help Vincents recovery however July that year Van Gogh tragically died in his bed at the Inn.

In order to broaden my research I watched ‘Loving Vincent’, It is an animated film based on a year after the death of Vincent Van Gogh, and the entire film was hand painted by a team of over 100 artists, it is cleverly done and really interesting as the storyline is of Van Gogh’s postman’s son, Armand, who is sent to deliver a letter from Vincent to his Brother Theo, along the way, Armand tries to unveil the truth of Vincents death. I think it is a great movie to watch, however I am unsure how reliable the facts are within the story, therefore I will reference carefully if ever I use a quote from ‘Loving Vincent’.

Biography (2017) Vincent Van Gogh Biography. Available at: (Accessed: 6 February 2018).
Vincent Van Gogh (1889) Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear [Oil on canvas]. Available at: (Accessed: 6 February 2018).
Loving Vincent (2018) Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman [Film] UK, Altitude film distribution

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