In 1880, at age 27, Van Gogh entered art school in Belgium. The following winter he fell in love, had his heart broken, and began painting. He lived frugally, and studied color theory. Vincent moved to Paris, discussing art with the most influential artists of his time, like Gauguin. He began using more color, applying paint with thick bold brushstrokes, and painted all that was around him. For a time, Van Gogh painted Sunflowers. At the same time, he began having mental and physical health problems, that eventually earned him the title of "the tortured artist."
|Red Vineyard at Arles|
At age 37, Vincent took his life. The world lost a genius. It is said about Van Gogh....."he was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature."
After Van Gogh's death, it was his sister-in-law who established a market for his paintings. Vincent also wrote over 800 letters during his short lifetime, many of which were to his brother, Theo. She delayed the publication of the letters, though, because she wanted the public to get to know the paintings before the man. "It would have been unfair to the dead artist to arouse interest in his person before the work, (for which he had sacrificed his life), was recognized and appreciated as it deserved to be."
Words spoken by Van Gogh
"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."
"When I have a terrible need of....shall I say the word....religion. Then I go out and paint the stars."
"But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things."
"I wish they would only take me as I am."