Vincent van Gogh, a genius to some and a madman to others, is often considered the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt. van Gogh's striking and exuberant paintings were all produced during a period of only ten years. His Post-Impressionist work hauntingly conveys through forceful colour, aggressive brushwork and contoured forms, the anguish of a mental illness that eventually resulted in suicide.
After failing in both his career and love life, van Gogh turned inward, pursuing a position in the ministry. In 1880, disenchanted with priesthood, he discovered art as his new mission. His earliest works were scenes of peasant life, but after a trip to Paris in 1886, where he encountered the works of the Impressionists and the Japanese prints en vogue at the time, he dramatically transformed his style from darkly collared realism to vibrant expressionism.
van Gogh moved to rural Arles, France in 1888, but continued to struggle with a nervous disorder and depression. He soon committed himself to an asylum at St. Remy. While hospitalised, he continued to paint and produced The Starry Night, one of his most compelling works. van Gogh spent the final year of his life in Auvers-sur-Oise, a small village north west of Paris. There, he painted feverishly to complete Houses at Auvers, which he worked on from a street near the home of his physician. He completed shortly before his death in 1890. Tormented by mental illness, van Gogh shot himself at the age of thirty-seven.
van Gogh's art has had a lasting impact on expressionism and twentieth century art in general.
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