Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous and revered artists of the world. Commonly known as a tortured individual, but highly respected by artists and spectators alike.
Even though van Gogh was never famous during his life, his posthumous notoriety remains to be massive. Check out these 30 interesting facts about Vincent Van Gogh, the amazing post-impressionist painter.
30 Interesting Facts about Vincent Van Gogh
- Vincent van Gogh was born March 30th, 1853 in the Netherlands.
2. There was another Vincent van Gogh before him – his brother who died during labor was given the same name.
3. Many people have trouble pronouncing his name – often saying “van go” however, it is actually said “van gokh.”
4. During his lifetime, van Gogh created about 2,100 pieces of art, 860 of which were oil paintings. Most of them were done in the last 2 years of his life.
5. It wasn’t until he was 27 that Vincent started painting. He was self-taught, save for attending art school in Antwerp for a few months only 4 years before his death.
6. While attending the art school, he would get in trouble with the instructor because of his unconventional painting style.
7. Because he couldn’t afford to pay models, van Gogh would initially paint flowers, landscapes, and himself.
8. Van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits.
9. Originally, Vincent was meant to become a pastor like his father was.
10. Recently, a grasshopper was found stuck in one of van Gogh’s paintings – the paint kept it preserved for 100 years!
11. While he was alive, van Gogh only sold one painting, The Red Vineyard. He didn’t become famous until after he died.
12. Van Gogh had many illnesses, including epilepsy, hallucinations, and mental issues.
13. During his lifetime, Vincent wrote over 800 letters, mostly to his brother, Theo, who was also his closest friend.
14. Theo supported van Gogh financially for most of his life.
15. Vincent used the money he received from his brother on painting materials and models, which caused him to eat and live in poverty. His diet was mainly bread, coffee, and tobacco.
16. The most famous piece of work done by van Gogh, Starry Night, was done while Vincent was staying in an asylum in France that he checked himself into.
17. While he was having an epileptic seizure, Vincent made a move to attack his friend with a razor. He ended up cutting off a piece of his own ear, but not the entire thing like most people think!
18. Van gogh did not have the best luck with women – at one point he proposed to his widowed cousin and actively pursued her, but she refused. It was mostly because Vincent wasn’t able to support himself.
19. On another occasion, he and his neighbor’s daughter fell in love together but their families disapproved of them getting married. The woman tried to overdose and kill herself, but van Gogh rushed her to a hospital.
20. Vincent thought the night time was much more alive and colorful than the daytime, so sometimes he would paint with candles lining his hat so he could see.
21. Van Gogh died because he shot himself in the chest while out painting in a field. He still managed to walk back home and upstairs to his room.
22. After the shooting, Vincent lived for 30 hours. He spent his final moments with his brother who heard his final words, “The sadness will last forever.”
23. At his funeral, Theo let Vincent’s small circle of friends take one of his paintings in order to remember him by. Vincent’s therapist took as many paintings as he could carry. They stayed in the family for many years until they donated most of them to the Louvre.
24. It wasn’t until 11 years after he died that his paintings started to gain attention.
25. Theo’s wife had collected Vincent’s paintings and letters, and committed herself to spreading his work so it would gain acknowledgement. If not for her, he may not have been as famous!
26. The most money ever spent for a van Gogh painting was $82.5 million dollars at an auction for Portrait of Dr. Gachet.
27. After van Gogh died, the innkeeper of where he stayed sold his two van Gogh paintings for $10 in 1905 because he thought they were useless due to deterioration.
28. The relationship between Vincent and his brother Theo was so strong, Theo became severely depressed shortly after Vincent died. Theo passed away only 4 months after and was buried. His wife recognized their bond, and had his remains exhumed so the brothers could be buried next to each other.
29. Van Gogh’s art style is known to feature vibrant yellows, however the pigment that was used is chemically unstable and ages poorly, so the actual luminance of the paintings is unknown.
30. Because his name was constantly misspelled, he decided to sign his paintings as “Vincent” instead. He didn’t sign all of his paintings either – only the ones he thought were done.