Vincent van Gogh is one of the most prominent artists in history. Here are 10 facts about this incredible painter.
1. He was born in Holland
Have you heard of Groot-Zundert, Holland? That’s where artist Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853.
2. He had a brother with the same name
Vincent had an older brother who died at birth. His name was also Vincent van Gogh.
3.He was supposed to be a pastor
Van Gogh was supposed to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pastor. Would the world have been robbed of his art if he had stuck with this career path?
4. He didn’t start painting until he was older
Van Gogh was 27 years old when he painted his first piece. Before that, he was failing as an art dealer and engaging in missionary work. He was mostly self-taught and he started out by painting dark and sad depictions of peasants. Maybe there’s still hope for other late bloomers out there.
5. He enjoyed painting himself
Vincent van Gogh is well-known for his self-portraits — he painted over 30 of them between 1886 and 1889. Post-impressionist selfies?
6. He produced his most famous artwork while in a mental hospital
Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night while residing in an asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France. You can still see this painting at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
7. He was very prolific
Vincent van Gogh produced his most famous paintings in the 10 years before he passed away suddenly. In that time frame, he made roughly 900 paintings. Think about it – in just 10 years, he did 900 paintings that are now considered some of the greatest works of art ever created. His most expensive painting, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, is valued at $148.6 million dollars. He painted it in 1890 and it was sold for this price in May 1990.
8. He was best friends with another artist
Van Gogh was very close friends with artist Paul Gauguin. The famous incident of van Gogh’s ear actually involved Gauguin. According to the well-known version of the story, van Gogh chopped off his own ear after having a fight with his friend, but a recent book suggests it was actually Gauguin who cut off the ear.
9. He sold only one painting while he was alive
Van Gogh sold just one painting, The Red Vineyard, during his lifetime. He became famous only after his death.
10. His death may, or may not, have been a suicide
Van Gogh died in 1890 under mysterious circumstances. He was thought to have committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, but a recent theory suggests he might have been shot by a local teenager.