5 Spellbinding Facts about Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh
Photo Credit: vangoghmuseum.nl

Vincent Van Gogh was a well-known Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who led a life full of sorrow and despair. Nevertheless, his paintings are among the most expensive works ever sold, and people still buy them for millions of dollars.

However, he was known to be a highly tortured individual because of the personal misfortunes Van Gogh endured in his life. As a result, neither Van Gogh could enjoy his fame during his life, nor was he commercially successful. On top of that, Van Gogh spent the final years following his mental illness. 

In today’s article, we will talk about some spellbinding facts about Vincent Van Gogh that will surely leave you fascinated. But, of course, if you are a Van Gogh fan, you must keep reading, so let us begin!

He Started Painting At The Age of 27

Born in Zundert, a southern town of the Netherlands, on March 30, 1853, Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest and finest artists of all time. However, many people might not know that Vincent Van Gogh started painting only at 27, a decade before his death. 

Before taking up painting as his career, Van Gogh had tried his hands at multiple professions. These include working as an art dealer, a school teacher, and a preacher. However, not finding any jobs quite fulfilling, Van Gogh shifted his focus to sketching and painting. And once he started, absolutely nothing stopped him from being one of the best painters of all time. 

That’s not all; Vincent Van Gogh was mostly a self-taught artist without any prior training. Moreover, he received very little formal artistic training, of about four months, just a few years before his demise. 

A Very Productive Art Career Yet Not Commercially Successful

After starting painting late, Vincent Van Gogh had a concise artistic career as he died at age 37. However, despite painting for just ten years, Van Gogh completed more than 2100 amazing artworks, including 900 famous van Gogh paintings and numerous other sketches and drawings. 

The total number of his artworks accounts for nearly a new artwork every 36 hours, which is a prolific number. Initially, Van Gogh used peasants and farmers as models because he was too poor to pay his subjects.

Despite all the amazing artworks Van Gogh created, he was never commercially successful. In fact, “The Red Vineyard Near Arles” is the only painting that he sold. This Vincent van Gogh artwork was sold for around 400 francs just seven months before his death.

Died of A Gunshot Wound

On July 27, 1890, the 37-year-old Dutch artist shot himself with a revolver in the chest. There were no witnesses to this incident, but Van Gogh succumbed to the bullet wound 30 hours after the incident. 

It is believed that the incident might have taken place in the wheat field where he had been painting. The bullet was said to have been stopped by Van Gogh’s spine, and apparently, it had done no damage to Van Gogh’s internal organs. However, with no availability of professional surgeons, the bullet could not be removed, and 30 hours later, he died of the gunshot wound

Six months after the demise of Van Gogh, his brother Theo, who had supported Van Gogh his entire life, also passed away. After Theo’s demise, his wife tried to find and collect Van Gogh’s artworks, and after almost 11 years, they began to receive long-deserved recognition. 

Cut His Own Ear Lobe

Van Gogh’s ear incident is one of his life’s most famous and heard parts. It is popularly believed that he had cut off his ear, but it was only a part of the ear lobe that he severed. Multiple stories have revolved around history as to why the artist took the violent step. 

One of the most renowned versions of the story involves Vincent Van Gogh and his dear friend Paul Gaughin. The story goes that during an argument between the two, Van Gogh picked up a razor and slashed his ear, mutilating the lobe. 

He then wrapped the mutilated part in a newspaper and gifted it to a woman in a brothel, where both Van Gogh and Gaughin went often. But that’s not all; the artist also paid homage to the incident with a “Self-Portrait With Bandaged Ear”. 

His Life is Documented Through Numerous Letters

In his entire life, Vincent Van Gogh wrote hundreds of letters and postcards, as many as the number of artworks he created. Almost 650 of these letters were written to his brother Theo and other close friends like Paul Gaughin and Emile Bernard, among others. 

Theos’ wife Johanna collected the letters that were exchanged between Vincent and his brother Theo after the death of the two. She collected and edited them, and most of these letters were published in 1914. 

In their letters, Van Gogh often talked about his relationships with people, artistic skills, and theories – his letters were a valuable source of information about Van Gogh’s life and arts. Unfortunately, the letters did not have any date, yet historians could place them chronologically, which has become a comprehensive source of Van Gogh’s life for today’s generation. 

The Bottom Line

An iconic painter, Vincent Van Gogh’s life was filled with tragedy and hardships. However, that did not stop him from becoming one of the greatest painters of all time, creating some of the most famous paintings like The Starry Night, Cafe Terrace At Night, Self-Portrait, and Sunflowers. Despite Van Gogh’s early death, his legacy lives on, and his name shall be remembered for eternity.