Vincent Van Gogh, born of Theodorus Fan Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Is not only one of the most influential painters of the nineteenth century. But was also one of the most troubled and misunderstood painters of all time. Vincent lived what some would call a “very troubled” life. Vincent, unlike many other painters, drastically changed his style of painting as the turbulence in his life changed. As a child Vincent was not always interested in art and attempted, but failed, several other careers before discovering his true talents in painting (Butterfield). Vincent Van Gogh lived an extremely unstable mental and physical life, yet through the ups and downs began the ever-famous style of painting known as expressionism and is currently known as one of the most famous painters of the nineteenth century.
Vincent Van Gogh was the oldest of six children and was born in Zundret, a village in Brabant, in the southern Netherlands in the mid 1800’s. At a young age Vincent began a very intense and special relationship with his brother, Theodorus, born four years after Vincent (Van). Through the letters that Vincent wrote to his younger brother, Theo, we are able to attempt to understand his thoughts, feelings, and emotions that he experienced through his harsh life. Vincent started his education in the village school where he learned to speak French, German, and English (Brooks). Vincent quit school, despite doing so well, and soon after went on to attempt the first out of his four careers.
He moved to Paris, after transferring from an apprenticeship at Goupil & Cie where he had his first introduction into the art world, and worked with his uncle at a branch gallery in the Hague as international art dealers (Brooks). Vincent eventually transferred again to the branch in London, and by then was familiar with all the painters and their styles of painting and began to appreciate art. Vincent grew very fond of the realistic peasant life paintings by Jean-Francois Millet and Jules Breton who later on became fairly influential in Vincent’s early paintings (Van). While in England, Vincent experienced one of the first downfalls in his life after professing his love to and being totally rejected by a woman named Eugenia; not long after that he was dismissed by the art firm which prompted him to begin his second career as a teacher (Butterfield).
Vincent eventually realized that he was not cut out to be a teacher and began to follow in his father’s footsteps as a minister. After moving to Amsterdam and being refused admittance into theology school, Vincent entered a missionary school and moved to Belgium working for a mining company as a lay preacher (Van). Vincent lived in some very rough conditions in the coalmines as he often gave what very little clothing and money he had. At that time Vincent drew many etchings of his times in the mines (Brooks).
Vincent Van Gogh eventually dwindled into complete poverty himself and was relieved of his position as a lay preacher. Vincent moved back home with his parents where he fell in love, for the second time, with his first cousin, Kee Vos. Very much like his first love Van Gogh took another devastating plunge after being completely rejected by Kee. To add to the sense of failure, Vincent’s father heard of his love for his cousin and separation of his religious beliefs and a fight between the two of them ended their father-son relationship (Butterfield).