Van Gogh Boy to Man
In this episode we delve into the mind of Van Gogh, ask the questions the World wants to know about his ear, and talk about an art find of the century. Thanks for downloading.
You hear a clip from the podcast with visuals here.
Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born on March the 30th 1853 in a Village called Groot Zundert in Holland.
His father was a pastor, His mother was the daughter of a bookseller and was a gentle artistic woman.
Vincent was her second Birth. His mother being deeply emotional never got over the stillbirth of her first child. It was not until 4 years later that she gave birth to Vincent. Because she was suffering this deep loss she never was able to form a bond with Vincent. He also never really got on with his father.
Van Gogh’s parents had 5 more children after Vincent, including his supportive brother Theo, born on the 1st of May 1857.
He was taught by his mother to draw. By the age of 8, he became quite good. Vincent as a young man would go for long walks in the countryside. He would frequently pass the gravestone of his dead sibling. Who was unfortunately for him called Vincent too. He would have felt that he could never take the place of the perfect baby Vincent. Because his Mother was grief-stricken over the loss of his firstborn, Vincent would look to form bonds with women later in life that were grief-stricken or older.
Vincent did really well at school and was an avid reader He learned English French and German. Due to financial troubles, Vincent was forced to leave school early…….
1869 He went to work at an art gallery which his Uncle managed, it was part of the group of Goupil and Cie’s galleries which had branches throughout Europe. At around this time he met his first love Caroline Haanebeek, who was his second cousin, he proposed to her but she rejected him.
In 1873 he was transferred to the London branch. Vincent developed a passion for his Landlady’s daughter Eugenie Loyer, the daughter of his landlady was in mourning for her father. Eventually, he revealed his feelings for her and found out she was secretly engaged.
Vincent kept arguing with his landlady and Eugenie and was asked to move out.
Whilst broken over the rejection, he was transferred to the Paris Gallery, he was now becoming more involved in religion. Vincent also became very opinionated and was persuading people not to buy what he considered to be “bad art”, at the gallery. In 1876 he left the gallery…. Still not satisfied, he returned to teach in Ramsgate in England but his religious fervour made him seek a post in Isleworth. He began preaching, this must-have given him what he thought was meaning to his life. In 1877 Vincent returned to Holland and after a short spell working at booksellers, he entered into to training at a ministry, he thought had to leave early in part as he struggled with Latin and Greek.
In 1878 He travelled to Boringe in Belgium to be a Missionary but he gave away his clothes and food to the poor, a church inspector found this scandalous. In 1879 his brother persuaded him to train as an Artist.
In 1880 he moved to Brussels supported by his brother. Vincent without a proper teacher started to learn to draw from books. He actually was very focused and organised and studied diligently all aspects of drawing. With this strong foundation in the rules of drawing, he was able to express himself much more freely with his later works.
In 1881 he moved to back to Etten in Holland to stay with family. Whilst there his 35-year-old Cousin Kee Vos-Stricker came to stay, Vincent about 28 at the time. She also was a suffering sensitive woman who had recently been widowed. Vincent fell in love with her, he pursued her, so much that she was forced to move back to her parent’s house. He kept trying to see her but was forbidden. He was trying again to be with a woman who represented his mother and was rejected again. “There is no anguish greater than the soul’s struggle between duty and love both in their highest meaning….. It is and remains a wound, which I carry with me: it lies deep and cannot be healed. After years it will be the same as it was the first day.”
1881 he had an argument with his father and moved to The Hague. He then moved in with a pregnant prostitute, who was suffering from syphilis, Christine Sien Hoornik. He did this apparently, in order to be deliberately living in sin, perhaps to get back at the church that had rejected him. This relationship lasted about 18months. She was the model for the famous sorrow drawing.
“Then I thought to myself, I’d like to be with a woman, I can’t live without love, without a woman. I wouldn’t care a fig for life if there wasn’t something infinite, something deep, something real.” Wrote Van Gogh in a letter to Theo.
In 1883 he left the Hague. In 1884 Vincent’s mother injured her leg and he went to Nuenen to help her out whilst she was convalescing. During that time she received frequent visits from Margot Begemann, the youngest daughter of the family that lived next door.
Vincent and Margot became friends and would go on long walks together. Margot is unique in that she was the only woman to really love Vincent. Unfortunately, this love was unrequited and this, along with extra pressures from her own family, drove Margot to take poison. Vincent helped to get medical attention for Margot and she eventually recovered, but her wish to one day marry Vincent was never to come true.
In 1886 he went to Paris and lived with his brother Theo. Paris he met Toulouse Lautrec, Renoir, Monet and Gaugin. Vincent was quite self-opinionated view and could be quite bombastic, in end only Gaugin stayed friends with him.
In February 1888 he moved to Arles and lived in the famous yellow House with Gaugin
He would quarrel quite often with Gaugin …….. By the End of the year, The famous Van Gogh Ear incident happened.
Q and A of the World Van Gogh’s Ear
We asked Google about Van Gogh’s Ear. Google presented us with the question that “People also Ask”. Here we answer the questions the World is asking.
Did Van Gogh cut off his ear?
Yes, he did, with a Razor, for a long time scholars thought that it was just his lobe. A note from his doctor, Félix Rey contained a drawing of the injury, it shows his whole ear.
Which ear did van Gogh cut off left or right?
His left ear, you can also see this in his 1889 self-portrait with a bandaged ear.
Who cut off Van Gogh’s ear?
He did. But there is another theory, Gaugin, who was a talented fencer, sliced off his ear after an argument. They both agreed to cover it up, in order to avoid Gaugin going to prison.
Why did Pablo Picasso cut off his ear?
He did not.
Why did Van Gogh remove his ear?
He had been arguing intensely with Gaugin. Also, it is now believed that after receiving a letter Van Gogh was distressed to find out that his brother was getting married. Van Gogh had a very close relationship and bond with his brother, he may have felt that the marriage would threaten this. Van Gogh then walked into a brothel and gave his severed ear to a young woman 18-year-old maid he knew who was working in a brothel.
1889 Vincent is admitted to a mental asylum in Saint Remy de Provance
1890 Vincent moves near to Paris to be closer to his brother
On the 27th July 1890 whilst painting wheat field, Van Gogh sustained a gunshot to his stomach, wounded he struggled back to his room in an inn where he was staying. During the 2 days, he took to die, he explained that he had shot himself.
There is an alternative theory that Van Gogh went out drinking with 2 teenagers he knew, one of them was dressed as a cowboy. Brandishing a faulty gun, he shot Van Gogh, not wishing to get his accidental assailant in trouble, he concocted a suicide story. However speaking on this theory the Van Gogh Museum said: “Truly nothing substantiates their argument for the train of events they construe, apart from a twentieth-century rumour arising from an authentic story of a trigger-happy brat in 1890, who merely claimed that Van Gogh probably stole the gun from him. And we do not doubt that for a moment.”
You can see a pod clip with visuals here.
Van Gogh Extra facts
After his death, Theo’s wife sought to catalogue and list Vincent’s paintings. Some were left in a damp basement, some used for target practice and one was even used to cover up a hole in a chicken run.
Van Gogh created 900 paintings and made 1,100 drawings and sketches.
Vincent was more successful in his lifetime than a lot realise. It is not known how many paintings Van Gogh created during his lifetime, but he sold at least 2. One was to Julien Tanguy who owned little painting supply shop and would also show the odd painting for sale. Theo also sold work to a gallery in London which was bought by the sister of his friend. He also was known to trade drawings for food and paint and his art dealer uncle Cornelis commissioned 19 drawings of the city of Hague, which the artist completed.
Van Gogh on eBay, Spot the Difference
We found what may be the find of the century on eBay a fourth painting of the Artist’s Bedroom in Arles. From 1888 to 1889 Van Gogh painted Three known studies of his bedroom at Arles. The top image is the third version he painted in 1889. The other work is listed on eBay as a “Rare Post-impressionist original oil” If this is, in fact, a previously before unknown masterwork it will be worth millions, however, we have spotted some troubling differences.
The Van Gogh Museum website is a brilliant resource for Van Gogh and a really enjoyable browsing experience.
The page on how the BBC pronounces Van Gogh
You must have a look at the Google art project’s HD reproductions of his works you can zoom in to see individual brush strokes.
Someone has created a 360 view of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting.