Vincent Van Gogh, Troubled Genius
Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zunder in Holland; he was one of six children. He was closest to his brother Theo who was four years younger.
Before he took on painting full time, Vincent held several jobs. He began working for an art dealership run by his uncle Vincent at the age of 15; he was fired at 21 for his poor attitude in dealing with customers. Other jobs he held were supply teacher, minister's assistant and bookshop clerk.
In 1880, at the urging of his brother Theo, he turned to art full time. He attended the Royal Academy of Art in Brussels where he studied under Willem Roelofs. After taking art courses Vincent began painting in earnest. Theo supported Vincent financially for the rest of his life.
Throughout his life, Van Gogh suffered from mental problems that may or may not have been medical in origin. In 1888, he cut off his left ear lobe and supposedly gave it to a prostitute. He was hospitalized after that event.
Vincent Van Gogh died on July 29th, 1890, two days after shooting himself in the chest.
Van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive but now his painting are amongst the highest priced works of art. His Irises sold for $102.3 million in 1987 and Sunflowers sold for $75.4 million the same year. His art is housed in art galleries all over the world and in a poll I looked at recently, Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci were tied for favorite artist.
Vincent (Starry Starry Night) by Don McLean
The song Vincent by Don McLean is one of the most beautiful and haunting songs that I have ever heard. I listened to it so much when it was released in 1972 that I still have the words memorized. I am sure it contributed to my long standing appreciation of Vincent Van Gogh's art works.
Excerpt from Vincent (Starry Starry Night)
Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will.
Reprinted from http://www.don-mclean.com/