top of page

Vincent Van Gogh  Netherlands 1853-1890

There is so much to be learned from studying the work of Vincent Van Gogh, so he was the artist we chose to revisit for our final project of the year. It was amazing to see the difference in the paintings from last year and the great pieces done this year.

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. He was the oldest surviving child of Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, and Anna Cornelia Carbentus,from a prosperous family in The Hague. Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet, and thoughtful. Most people are familiar with the myths surrounding Van Gogh, but the person behind the myths has rarely been acknowledged. He was a very sensitive, gifted and highly intelligent person. Vincent left school at 15 and to begin a trade, and by then he was very well read and spoke 4-5 languages. He had a near photographic memory for details that comes across in all of his drawings and paintings. As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He suffered from epilepsy and the ill effects of medication to prevent seizures . His ill health prompted him to take up painting in 1881, after moving back home with his parents. His brother, Theo, supported him financially, and the two kept a long correspondence by letter. Most of his letters exist today and provide a written account of his thoughts and life. He was greatly influenced by the landscapes and people of his native Netherlands and influenced by living in London .In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, before settling in the South of France. In each location, he visited galleries and museums and studied the artists and styles which culminated in his distinctive brush strokes and colors. Japanese printmaking became one of Van Gogh's main sources of inspiration and he was an enthusiastic collector of over 600 prints.He considered Japanese prints a model of pure artistic expression, uncorrupted by the West. He hung them on the walls of his rooms and they are often pictured in the background of his portraits. They taught him a new way of looking at the world.

He was very prolific and recorded everything around him in letters, journals, drawings, and paintings. In just over a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He is often viewed as a tragic figure, preferring to concentrate on his ill health and frailties, but the real tragedy was his never knowing the future value and acceptance of his work. His brother Theo, who was an art dealer and his wife Joanna, are credited as keeping his memory alive. In his lifetime he only sold one painting and much of his work went missing or was destroyed. Even his mother reportedly threw out crates of paintings because they were unusual for the time and deemed to have little value. Today his surviving works remain some of the most valued in art history.



ALA STUDENTS K-3rd - Inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Vincent van Gogh - Atelier des Lumières Paris, France

Amazing interactive Van Gogh exhibition . This experience takes his art to another level.

 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
bottom of page