Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who influenced the art world in the twentieth century and how people view art today. Vincent’s first brother died as an infant and he always thought of himself as the “replacement child. ” Being the oldest in the family, Vincent had to drop out of school to work and financially support his family. His younger brother Theo was a respected art dealer who financially supported Vincent when he realized his passion in art.
Vincent Van Gogh was a painter who influenced the lives of many despite his mental illness, struggled to create his own “style” of art, and found his purpose through hard work and the support of his brother. Vincent Van Gogh was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy, depression, and bipolar disorder; but despite all the challenges he faced daily, he was still optimistic and hopeful about his future. He voluntarily entered the asylum in Saint-Remy-deProvence, France and while he was there, he wrote letters to his brother. This wasn’t a setback in Vincent’s life, and while staying at the asylum, his most famous work Starry Night was created.
In one of the letters written to Theo, he stated, “I am so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do, and at such a moment one feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of deep dark well, utterly helpless. ” In his letters, Vincent expressed his feelings of being overcome by sorrow and his constant struggle against despair. Maria Popova states, “And yet, Van Gogh ultimately sees his psychological struggles not as something to negate but as his artistic truth, as a vital part of his honest experience, which is the necessary foundation of great art.
He believed 1 that if he had not gone through his mental illness, he wouldn’t have been able to create his art and be inspired by his mind. Vincent used variations of different colors in his paintings, but yellow in his Sunflowers painting and self-portraits. Yellow was known to have been his favorite color and sunflowers are known to have an effect of giving off perpetual happiness. It was probably his favorite color because he had temporal lobe epilepsy in which the prescribed drug causes one to see in yellow or see yellow spots.
In Vincent’s eyes, yellow was the light during his dark days of depression. ‘Vincent Van Gogh used to eat yellow paint because he thought it would get the happiness inside him. Many people thought he was mad and stupid for doing so because the paint was toxic, never mind that it was obvious that eating paint couldn’t possibly have any direct correlation to one’s happiness, but I never saw that. If you were so unhappy that even the maddest ideas could possibly work, like painting the walls of your internal organs yellow, then you are going to do it.
It’s really no different than falling in love or taking drugs. There is a greater risk of getting your heart broken or overdosing, but people still do it every day because there was always that chance that it could make things better. Everyone has their yellow paint,” argued Alexandra Timmer. It is said that true artists cannot get noticed without having a certain “style” of their own. Vincent knew that everyone had a certain method to art, and instead of copying and relating his art to others, he simply created his own distinct style.
At one and a half years old, he started drawing pictures, and by age of thirteen, he drew still life. Growing up, Vincent often sketched and used watercolors; one of the first drawings was of his brother Theo working in the field. “Instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before me, I make more arbitrary use of color 3 to express myself more forcefully,” claimed Vincent. He studied eastern philosophy, Japanese prints, and impressionist painters to enhance the inner life of his art and soul. His observations were his true inspirations so he took note of the things and people around him.
He also noticed that many of the new artists painted when the weather was good or the light was perfect; some only painted when they felt like it. But Vincent kept his solid work ethic, worked long hours, and had little patience for those who didn’t work as hard as him. He felt they didn’t have the passion for it like he did. He was a self-taught painter, therefore he often struggled on most days to paint. But when he did paint, his passions, beliefs, ambitions, and ideas would come to life. And when messed up, he saw it as an experience and opportunity to learn.
As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward,” he expressed. He saw art everywhere he went; in the people he loved, places he went, and refused to believe that his mental illness would stop him from his true passion and purpose in life. “This is my ambition, which is founded less on anger than on love, founded more on serenity than on passion. It is true that I am often in the greatest misery, but still there is within me a calm, pure harmony and music. In the poorest huts, in the dirtiest corner, I see drawings and pictures.
And with irresistible force my mind is drawn towards these things. Believe me that sometimes I laugh heartily because people suspect me of all kinds of malignity and absurdity, of which not a hair of my head is guilty — I, who am really no one but a friend of nature, of study, of work, and especially of people. ” Theo Van Gogh, Vincent’s most selfless supporters, urged for Vincent to turn his art into a career. In the letters Vincent wrote to Theo, he tried proving to Theo that he is not the failure his family sees him out to be.
He ranted, “Improvement in my life — should I not desire it or 4 should I not be in need of improvement? I really want to improve. But it’s precisely because I yearn for it that I’m afraid of remedies that are worse than the disease. Can you blame a sick person if he looks the doctor straight in the eye and prefers not to be treated wrongly or by a quack? ” His family saw his life as an annoying and burdensome tragedy since he had no desire or lack of direction in life. Without the help of his family, Vincent found his true calling through hard work and determination.
Vincent always concurred that “Work and love are two keys to a full life. ” But sometimes, he felt that it wasn’t enough. He ended up selling only one painting throughout his life and that was to his brother. Kirk Douglas emphasized that, “The biggest spur to my interest in art came when I played Van Gogh in the biographical film Lust For Life. The role affected me deeply. I was haunted by this talented genius who took his own life, thinking he was a failure. How terrible to paint pictures and feel that no one wants them.
How awful it would be to write music that no one wants to hear. Books that no one wants to read. And how would you like to be an actor with no part to play, and no audience to watch you. Poor Vincent-he wrestled with his soul in the wheat field of Auvers-sur-Oise, stacks of his unsold paintings collecting dust in his brother’s house. It was all too much for him, and he pulled the trigger and ended it all. My heart ached for van Gogh the afternoon that I played that scene. As I write this, I look up at a poster of his “Irises”-a poster from the Getty Museum.
It’s a beautiful piece of art with one white iris sticking up among a field of blue ones. They paid a fortune for it, reportedly $53 million. And poor Vincent, in his lifetime, sold only one painting for 400 francs or $80 dollars today. This is what stimulated my interest in buying works of art from living artists. I want them to know while they are alive that I enjoy their paintings hanging on my walls, or their sculptures decorating my garden. ” 5 Vincent still felt like his work wasn’t enough and that he wasn’t enough.
He also thought that his paintings could never measure up and that he had no artistic ability within himself. Everyone was too concerned on his mental health, rather than how he expressed himself through his art. He felt that his suffering helped others not to suffer and he often placed himself in situations where he would rather take the punishment of others than have them go through it. He had character, integrity, and ambitions to not let others stop him. But most importantly, he had feelings and flaws, and he was no more human than any of us.
He was just simply trying to survive, and art was his way of escaping his problems. He could have avoided going in the wrong direction if someone were there to see him through, not just physically, and he wouldn’t have taken his life if others had more patience towards him. Vincent Van Gogh taught us that despite what you’re going through, you can still be successful even if you don’t see results right away. The hard work you do now will pay off someday. He also taught that what inspires you isn’t what you should be doing; it’s about finding your purpose…