What you should know about Vincent Van Gogh

van gogh starry night

Starry Night-By Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve seen Van Gogh’s paintings in Target before. Not the originals of course! To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of them.  I guess you could say, I’ve never understood them.  This is my fault, not Van Gogh’s, because I never took the time to research his art.  Low and behold, two pages of my Abnormal Psychology book are dedicated to him! I thought, what in the world would a painter be doing in a mentally ill section.

Before I continue, I’ve learned the lesson tonight that people often become defined by their work or fame. Though many people today would give their right arm to be recognized by strangers, it is in a sense a downfall  because often that is ALL that defines celebrities. The public never really learns who these people are behind their art, movies, and talents.

Let’s take a moment and find out…


He was a post-impressionist painter

He was incredibly poor and moved around often

He suffered from an unknown mental illness (Psychiatrists still disagree on the diagnosis)

After cutting off a piece of his ear to give to a prostitute as a gift (due to high fever), he was committed into a hospital psyche ward for a  year

Vincent found inspiration for many of his paintings in scenery surrounding his asylum

He only sold ONE painting during his lifetime

On July 29, 1890 Van Gogh walked out into a field and shot himself

Two days later he died

Later, in 1990 his Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million

Portrait of Dr Gachet

This is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold

Unfortunately, there were not many options for psychological disorders back then as there are today. Who knows where he could have gone with his art.  His death reminds me of Sylvia Plath’s.  Both Plath and Van Gogh shared the same death and  fame after their deaths.

The moral to the story is to never judge a book by its cover.  It’s always important to flip through the pages to make absolute sure that we cannot make a connection with it. Yesterday, I could have cared less about Vincent Van Gogh. Tonight, I wish him and I could have a long conversation over dinner. I feel we could have been friends in that we both came from low-income families, faced extreme insecurity, and suffered from depression. It’s a shame….

All information for this post was found in Abnormal Psychology by Susan Krauss Whitbourne and Richard P. Halgin (18-19)


6 thoughts on “What you should know about Vincent Van Gogh

  1. You want to know something funny? Van Gogh is my all-time favourite artist and I’ve researched his life (and art) for 20+ years now. I know him (and his life story) like the back of my hand! His work (and style) has influenced my own artwork/photography so much. LOVE that man. :0) Here are some more interesting facts about him:

    *He was the son of a Dutch minister, expected to carry on in his father’s stead and become the family minister

    *He chose to become an artist instead
    *He was excommunicated shortly afterwards
    *He spent his life among paupers, peasants, and prostitutes and remained poverty-stricken throughout the duration of his life
    *He was a drug addict and often drank absinthe (a green tonic that ate away at his mental health)
    *He was convicted, morally, and spent much of his time sharing the Word of God in back alleys, giving away his possessions and food
    *He subsisted on little more than bread and coffee
    *He was in awe of Paul Gauguin, a fellow painter (who was a staunch athiest) who stayed with him briefly
    *His family’s excommunicating him had much to do with the onset of his insanity
    *He was smitten with his cousin and wanted to marry her

    I could go on and on- I’ve ready many books on him.
    Great post! 🙂 Xo

    1. Those things are so fascinating to me. The average person would probably be intimidated by his level of darkness and mental instability but I seriously want to read a book about him. Any that you would recommend? You know, I love saying that I’m right but it also feels just as good to say that I was wrong too! Really happy he was in my Abnormal Psychology book! Thanks for taking the time to share those other things with me! I find that so cool that a lot of your work is based off of his.

  2. Valerie says:

    I’ve only ever liked his Starry Night and Sunflowers paintings. The story about his ear has creeped me out, so I never have looked into any other aspect of his life, so thank you for sharing! He is much more relateable than I thought. 🙂

    1. Hey Valerie! sorry the above post was for Birgitta. I accidently replied to your post before I meant too. Thanks so much for commenting! Those blog parties are always fun. And I totally agree, Starry Night is my favorite too as are the sunflowers. I’m usually drawn to paintings that feel inspirational or relaxing. I can’t say I get that vibe from Van Gogh’s but they are definitely interesting! ❤ Appreciate you stopping by and continuing to be a loyal follower.

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