March 30th 1853: Van Gogh born


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Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) – self-portrait


On this day in 1853, the artist Vincent van Gogh was born in Zundert in the Netherlands. The young van Gogh had a keen interest in art, and continued to draw and paint into adulthood. As an adult van Gogh traveled extensively throughout Europe, exploring the different art scenes and becoming especially affected by the French Impressionists.



The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh (1889) – perhaps his most famous work


Despite his talent and distinctive art style, van Gogh was unappreciated in his lifetime. The struggling artist also suffered from mental health issues, infamously cutting off his ear and eventually shooting himself aged just 37. In his tragically short life van Gogh left an impressive selection of work, with over 2,000 pieces of art attributed to him.


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Sunflowers by van Gogh (1888)


When he died, van Gogh was a little known name; today he is a household name. His art was rediscovered after his death, and found an appreciation in a new audience who praised his unique style. I should say right off the bat that I am no art expert, so what I have to say about his work is from the perspective of an amateur! That being said, it seems to me that Van Gogh’s style is marked by the boldness of his brush stokes and choice of colours, but especially the pure emotion he brings to his art. It is a tired cliché that tortured souls make the best artists, but this certainly seems to be true in van Gogh’s case. He was plagued by mental illness issues throughout his lifetime, and translated this poignantly into his art. The images I have selected do not do justice to the full emotionality of his work, as I decided to include his two most famous pieces in a celebration of his life and legacy. However from my limited knowledge there are many other works of his which reflect the broad range of his skill. So let’s take his 161st birthday to remember the art of Vincent van Gogh, and spare a thought for the other hundreds of struggling artists whose work is not appreciate in their time.


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