I dream of painting and then I
paint my dream –Vincent Van Gogh
Please take a “Van
Gogh” packet from
the front table and
answer ONLY the
The Church at Auvers-Vincent Van Gogh 1890
Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh was born on March
30th, 1853 in Groot-Zundert,
Van Gogh had three sister and two brothers. His brother Theo
would become a large part of his life in his later years.
Van Gogh dabbled in various
careers in his younger years,
such as art dealer and
He decided to become an artist at the age of 27 with the
financial support of his brother Theo.
Van Gogh was largely self taught and worked on his skills
by copying prints of artwork and 19th century drawing
manuals and lesson books
Letter and sketches by Van
Van Gogh started
thought it was
master black and
moving to color
Nursery on the Schenkweg
The Potato Eaters
By early 1886, he had
moved to Paris to live
with his brother Theo.
Here Vincent was
immersed in a centrifuge
of modern art from the
impressionist and post
impressionists. Van Gogh
quickly dropped the dark
colors he had used to
create The Potato Eaters
after discovering the
palette to be horrendously
out of date.
Self Portrait with Straw Hat
What changes can you see in Van Gogh’s
style of painting from these two works?
Van Gogh adopted the
brighter more vibrant
colors with ease and
with the techniques
he saw in the art of
the impressionist and
While in Paris, Vincent was acquainted with various other
artists including Paul Gauguin. Vincent befriended Paul
Gauguin and moved to Arles in 1888 hoping that his new
friend would join him. Vincent was confident in his new
and highly personal style and felt that he could attribute it
to modern art with his outlandish new color combinations.
Towards the end of 1888, the first
signs of Van Gogh's mental illness
began to take hold. He suffered
from various types of epilepsy,
psychotic attacks, and delusions.
One such episode entailed Vincent
pursuing Gauguin with a knife and
threatening him intensely. Later
that day, Vincent returned to their
house and mutilated his ear.
Vincent was temporarily
hospitalized and released to find
Self Portrait with
Gauguin swiftly leaving Arles and Bandaged Ear
his dream of an artistic community
As the year of 1888 came to an end,
Vincent traveled to Saint-Rémy-deProvence where he committed
himself to an asylum. Here his
paintings became a flood of activity.
Starry Night which resides
as his most popular work
and one of the most
influence pieces in history.
The swirling lines of the sky
are a possible representation
of his mental state. This same
shaken style is visible in all of
his work during his time in
Vincent left Saint-Rémy-deProvence in 1890 and began
contacting his brother Theo.
van Gogh continued working
and created a number of pieces;
nearly one painting per day.
Vincent viewed his life as
horribly wasted, personally
failed and impossible. He only
sold one painting in his
lifetime. On July 27, 1890 Van
Gogh attempted suicide by
shooting himself in the chest.
He survived, but died two days
later from the wound
Road with Cypress and Star
Possible Mental Conditions
Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Van Gogh was born with a brain lesion, this may
have been aggravated by his prolonged use of
Van Gogh suffered from bouts of mania followed
by deep depressions. Bipolar disorder may have been
Theory: Thujone Poisoning
In order to counter act his attacks of epilepsy,
anxiety, and depression, Van Gogh drank absinthe, a
toxic alcoholic drink popular with many artists at the
time. Thujone is the toxin in absinthe. High doses
of thujone can also cause one to see objects in
yellow. Various physicians have differing opinions
on whether or not this is what caused
Van Gogh's affinity with yellow.
What are the most important elements of this artwork?