Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is an internationally renowned Dutch post-impressionist painter. Today it is a painting classic whose works are selling for millions of dollars. The biography of Van Gogh is a classic example of a genius misunderstood by his contemporaries, who lived his life as an outcast and a sufferer. The artist's paintings are known to everyone today, but his life remains a mystery, being shrouded in myths.
We only know about Van Gogh's madness, a cut off ear, and suicide. Indeed, even the first biographers of the master, whether intentionally or not, contributed to the emergence of the legend.
Van Gogh saw the world not as an ordinary person, but in curls and strokes. This myth explains why the artist created such peculiar paintings. However, the first creations of Van Gogh belonged to the genre of "peasant painting". The artist tried to depict the life of ordinary villagers. And there are no curls, no bright colors. The paintings themselves are rather dark and even gloomy. So there is no need to talk about special vision. All of Van Gogh's work is in the search for a new form of expression. He himself wrote: “I'm looking. I aim to. I am in this with all my heart. " It is likely that at some point, Van Gogh's brother, Theo, himself a successful art dealer, advised Vincent to move away from the hackneyed theme of peasant painting in favor of more fashionable impressionism. Light and bright paintings attracted attention, it only remained to wait for the recognition of the public.
The excess of yellow in Van Gogh's paintings is due to the artist's addiction to absinthe. The love for this alcoholic drink is believed to have caused hallucinations and altered a person's perception of color. However, it is not clear to what extent and how often absinthe should be consumed to reach such a state. And not only Van Gogh abused absinthe, but only he is accused of incorrect color rendering. Moreover, just at the moment of exacerbation of his mental illness, the artist could not create. The addiction only hindered him, not helped.
Van Gogh lived in poverty and died completely unknown. In fact, Van Gogh did not live in poverty. His younger brother provided financial support, so Vincent did not grab any work, exchanging talent. Leo saw the clear abilities of his brother, paying him a monthly allowance, purchasing paints, art books, materials. There was enough money even for prostitutes. And although Van Gogh really did not become fashionable and popular, he closely communicated with the most promising and young artists who were still waiting for fame: Degas, Gauguin, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec. And at the very end of his life, Van Gogh was nevertheless noticed by critics, who began to highlight his work. He never became rich; nevertheless, the position of the master was better than that of many of his other contemporary colleagues.
Van Gogh was a real madman who simply splashed emotions on the canvas. In his letters to his brother Theo Vincent, he constantly talked about painting, creativity, techniques and materials, setting goals. And since childhood, the artist studied languages and took drawing lessons. He was considered to be very hardworking, stubborn and intelligent. Van Gogh's depression and epileptic seizures due to excessive love for absinthe appeared only at the end of life. The artist himself wrote that he deliberately brought himself to such a state, since in a calm state his gaze became empty. The lack of recognition by the public also played a role here. But today, many go crazy with lesser problems. And the myth was born by art critic Julius Meyer-Grefe. He said that Vincent worked literally in blind ecstasy, pouring out his temperament on the canvas. Van Gogh himself was a real workaholic, claiming that in art one should "work like several blacks, peeling off one's skin." In the last months of his life, the artist could create a picture in a few hours, but at the same time repeating that he had worked for years to learn how to create worthwhile in such a short time. There was no question of working on a whim - Van Gogh worked long and hard on one motive. Several versions of the same "Sunflowers" were created. Van Gogh created series that were thought out from the creative and commercial side. And Gauguin wrote about a friend: "You are the only thinking artist of all."
Van Gogh, in a fit of madness, cut off his ear and gave it to a prostitute. This extravagant act has become the artist's trademark. Not everyone remembers his paintings, but this fact has forever become associated with Van Gogh. Legend has it that a certain prostitute liked the artist's ears. It was this lady that Van Gogh gave his ear to, having no money to buy a Christmas present. In reality, he lost not an ear, but only a part of it, a lobe, and even then - under mysterious conditions. It is believed that at that time Gauguin rented housing from Van Gogh. The artists worked together a lot, arguing hotly about art. And then one day, in the heat of an argument, the emotional Gauguin slashed a friend on the ear. He himself was an accomplished fighter, with extensive experience of such encounters in sailor taverns. So the version of Van Gogh's seizure, and that he was chasing a colleague in the apartment with a blade, was invented by Gauguin himself. In this light, history justified him. Yes, and Van Gogh loved his friend, so he could well hide his bad deed. Cutting off an ear at the root meant bleeding, because the artist received medical assistance only after 10 hours. And in the medical report it is just about the cut off lobe.
Van Gogh committed suicide. The story of Van Gogh's suicide is classic. On July 27, 1890, on a walk, he shot himself in the heart with a pistol purchased to scare away birds. Feathered ones interfered with creativity in the fresh air. The artist did not hit his heart and managed to get to the hotel, where he still managed to say goodbye to his brother. But this version received an alternative in 2011. American art historians, Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Nafeh and Gregory Smith wrote in their book that there was no suicide. The forensic expert did not believe this either, who noted the absence of burns on his hands, which should have appeared in this case. And the pistol itself could not be found, as well as eyewitnesses to the incident. It is unclear why to arrange such a painful death for yourself, and not to shoot in the head? It is highly likely that one of the teenage hooligans who drank with Van Gogh in local eateries was shooting. They could play cowboys with firearms. The artist himself at one time kept silent about Gauguin's misconduct, probably deciding to pity the boys too. At this time, Van Gogh was in the deepest depression, he simply was not interested in anything. He did not blame anyone and humbly gave up his life.
Van Gogh was not recognized by his contemporaries. In recent years, the artist has gained some popularity. Since 1888, famous critics Felix Fenelon and Gustave Kahn, reviewing the work of independent avant-garde artists, have highlighted the bright work of Van Gogh. The critic Octave Mirbeau even advised Rodin to buy the works of the unusual master. Van Gogh's paintings were in the collection of Edgar Degas, a very fine art lover. Even during the artist's lifetime, the newspaper "Mercure de France" wrote about him as a great artist, the heir of Rembrandt and Hals. An entire article by the star critic Henri Aurier was devoted to the Dutchman. He himself was going to work on a biography of Van Gogh, but he could not, having died of tuberculosis.
Van Gogh tried to know God and the people, serving as a preacher for the miners. This story became the basis for the God-seeking legend of Van Gogh. In 1879 he actually served as a preacher in the Belgian mining town of Borinage. Biographers saw in this a desire to suffer along with the poor and the poor, breaking with their native environment. In fact, Vincent in those years decided to become a priest, like his father. But to become ordained, it took five years to study in seminary or to take an accelerated three-year simplified and free course at an evangelical school with a six-month missionary service. So Van Gogh found himself among the miners. He tried to help them, but did not plan to get closer, remaining a representative of his middle class. And after the expiration of the term, Van Gogh went to school. But the conditions changed, and there was a tuition fee for the Dutch. Van Gogh decided to leave religion and became an artist. His temporary missionary work was a necessary step for a spiritual career, not an impulse of the soul.
During his lifetime, only one painting by Van Gogh was sold. This myth is part of the image of an unrecognized genius. In 1890, Theo sold the landscape "Red Vineyards at Arles" for 400 francs. The painting was painted 2 years earlier. However, the facts say that the artist still had more success. At least one of his paintings was sold in England. This is one of Van Gogh's self-portraits. Some London dealers Sally and Lorrie bought a painting of a little-known Dutchman. Drawings of Van Gogh were popular, but still this was not enough for complete independence from his brother.
Van Gogh was a man of the people, a rebel and even an anarchist. The same biographer Julius Meyer-Graefe constantly changed the focus on the life story of Van Gogh. The legend took root in Germany, where no one knew the artist. At first, Van Gogh appeared as a man of the people, the herald of modernity. But this genre soon fizzled out. Then Van Gogh began to be called an avant-garde rebel, which liked the bohemian, but not the townsfolk. And only in 1921 the image of a genius madman appeared, whose hand was ruled by God himself. In fact, Van Gogh graduated from a private gymnasium, spoke fluently in three languages and read a lot. Colleagues called the artist Spinoza. There was always a family behind Van Gogh who supported him in his endeavors. Grandfather created bindings of ancient manuscripts for royal houses, uncles traded in art objects, there was even an admiral in the family. The artist himself grew up as a pragmatic person.
In his latest painting, Van Gogh announced a future suicide. Van Gogh finished painting Wheatfield with Crows 19 days before his death. The film Lust for Life even shows how the artist, having finished work on the painting, kills himself. But there is no evidence that a depressive picture is a death message. And now the last work is considered to be "Wheat Fields", which became clear from the artist's correspondence with his brother. The cost of the canvas is now at least $ 20 million. But no connection was found between the paintings and Van Gogh's death. He sent his last letter to his brother in four days. It mentioned the Garden of Daubigny and "cottages with thatched roofs", no mystical signs or hints were contained.
Van Gogh worked at night putting candles in his hat. This myth appeared in 1922 in a book by French journalist Gustave Coco. He told an anecdote about Van Gogh's work in a hat with candles while working on Starry Night. But the artist himself said that he worked under the light of an ordinary gas lantern.
The painting "A Room in Arles" proves the artist's insane state. An unnaturally curved space is presented as evidence of a malfunction in Van Gogh's psyche. However, it turned out that he portrayed reality very realistically. In the house in Arles where Van Gogh lived, the walls and ceiling were indeed sloped.
Van Gogh overheated in the open air, which is why he went crazy. It is known that Van Gogh loved to work in the open air. He did not tolerate the smell of turpentine, which was used to dilute paints. And this fact formed the basis of a new myth. Biographers wrote that Van Gogh loved his source of inspiration, the sun, so much that he did not even cover his head. As a result, all the hair was burnt, and the unprotected skull was systematically baked with rays, which drove the artist crazy. However, in the later self-portraits of Van Gogh and in the portraits of the already dead artist, it is noticeable that the hair on his head was present until the end of his life.
Van Gogh considered himself a loner and did not want to start a family. Employees of the Van Gogh Museum note that more than anything the artist wanted to have just a family with children. The man got to know strangers very hard and rarely allowed anyone into his inner world. In his short life there was only a year and a half of "playing" with the family. The role of the wife was played by the former prostitute and model Sin Khurnik, already with her child. After long-term relationships came to an end, Van Gogh could no longer build harmonious and long-term relationships with women. The news that he would become an uncle became joyful for Vincent. He even painted the painting "Blossoming Almond Branches" under the impression. Now this painting adorns the family collection of the heirs.