Born: March 30, 1853, Netherlands | Successful For: Artist, Painter | Zodiac Sign: Aries
3 Success Lessons from Vincent Van Gogh's Biography:
Vincent Van Gogh's Failure's Along With Following His Instincts Led To His Ultimate Passion:
He was raised by strict religious parents until he was sent to a boarding school from age 11 to 15 where he learned his first form of art and composition. At around 15 years old, Vincent Van Gogh’s family was struggling financially and he had to exit from school to begin work at his uncle’s art dealership. This is where his first nudges for the arts began. Soon after he was transferred to London to work at a gallery where he began taking an interest in the English culture he was surrounded in. On his time off, he would visit other art galleries around the city and was heavily enjoying the English literature of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Being an instinctive individual he fell in love easily throughout his life, but in this particular scenario he fell in love with the landlady’s daughter, who rejected him. This made him bitter and he threw away all his books (except the bible) and told people at the gallery to not buy “worthless art” which resulted in Van Gogh being fired. He took an unpaid job where he was not very happy but he would spend more of his time doodling and writing literature from the Bible into different languages. He then devoted his life to god as he became incredibly passionate about religion and prepared to take an exam to become a minister. He was not accepted because he made rude remarks about the Latin language. Van Gogh then volunteered to preach in the coal mines where he ministered to the sick and also drew portraits of the miners (who were sent there as punishment), he learned a ton about their way of life and the experience served him immensely as it made him want to impact the world. The miners connected with him on a personal level and called him "christ of the mines". Eventually the committee released his contract for having an unorthodox lifestyle (he gave away all of his possessions and was choosing to live in poverty). Ultimately these failures and rejections led him to follow a much deeper chord, and he made the bold decision of moving to Brussels to become an artist. He found this his big life calling and truly believed he could serve the world and move people with his art. He passionately believed "I know for sure that I have an instinct for color, and that it will come to me more and more, that painting is in the very marrow of my bones."
He Was Often An Outcast To Society, And Was For The Most Part, Self-Taught, Which Made Him A Pioneer:
Vincent Van Gogh was a quiet and serious kid who had a temper and lacked self confidence. Throughout his journey he struggled to find direction and identity. From being an impoverished and mentally ill individual pretty well his entire life, it's easy to note that he felt very much like a misfit and he vocalized it in his notoriously famous letters to his brother. This is also why he was somewhat free to paint in such abstract, creative and nonjudgmental ways. Art brought him emotional stability. And although his uncle (owner of a well known gallery) rejected and declined his early works, Van Gogh was able to persevere. When it came to relationships, he didn't have many friends because of his intense passion for art, he would often argue with other artists. This would force him to isolate from the painters who couldn't stand his bickering. And for women, he always fell in love with ones who had struggles and needed help, but for the most part, they often rejected him. Van Gogh fell in love with a prostitute with whom he would use as a model for portraits, but when she went back to prostitution, he became deeply depressed. His characteristics may seem negative in nature, but it was his non conforming ways that led him to genius level in his art. His madness, so to speak, is what enabled him to create such masterful paintings and portraits that people could 'feel' in any of his works. When he tried following the impressionist paintings that were extremely popular in Paris, his style and heavy strokes just wouldn't match the time era and the elite class were offended by his art. When his mental illness became worse, he shot himself with a pistol and died days later in his brother's arms. His loving and supportive brother would die just 6 months later (some argue from the trauma). His brother's wife retrieved all the remaining paintings (many were thrown away or destroyed), which were later sold. Although he only sold one painting while alive, and to a friend, for little money, it was after Van Gogh's death that people finally came to realize that his work was above and beyond his times. Which make Vincent Van Gogh a true pioneer, someone who walked alone but was not necessarily lost, in fact, gifted. His mother would be alive to get to see him be viewed as a 'success' and a 'genius', in the eyes of society, of course. Van Gogh's powerful philosophy was "As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed."
Through 'The 10,000 Hours Principle', Vincent Van Gogh Had Mastered His Craft To Perfection:
In his younger years, Van Gogh was painting with watercolors while at school. He began drawing at an elementary level as an adult, when he found it to be his life's destiny. He would put in the time, and studied books like Travaux des champs by Jean-François Millet and Cours de dessin by Charles Bargue. He practiced his craft by drawing and painting any chance he got. Van Gogh would get more training from his cousin by marriage, Anton Mauve. He fell in love with a pregnant prostitute named Hoomik, who Anton disapproved of, so Van Gogh left to continue practicing portraits with Hoomik, who often posed for him. Eventually she went back to her line of work and he returned home uninspired, but he continued honing his gifts. Back home in the Netherlands he was introduced to the works of Jean-Franqois Millet, whose style he imitated. Van Gogh felt he needed more training in art techniques so he enrolled at the Royal Academy Of Fine Arts where he was influenced by the works of Rubens and various others which ultimately gave him his own unique blended style. Soon, he left for Paris where Van Gogh became inspired by impressionism with all it's colors and light. He began studying with famous painters Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro and others, which gave him great insight. He would be heavily inspired by Japanese art and began studying eastern philosophies to give him more perspective. Van Gogh would make major sacrifices to pursue and perfect his craft; he and other painters would pose for each other as models for portrait paintings to save money rather than hiring models, and he would buy paint rather than food. He mostly lived on coffee and bread, as well as absinthe at night. He even began to eat paint, which was highly addictive and resulted in a worsened mental state. This led him to commit himself to an Asylum where he continued painting at an astonishing pace. in fact, this is where he created most of his masterpieces including Starry Night (below). Van Gogh was now a master, as he probably had much more than 10,000 hours of work and exposure, he was creating nearly one painting per day up until his suicide. In total, Vincent Van Gogh completed more than 2,100 works, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings and sketches. Many of his paintings have been ranked as the most expensive pieces of art in the world, including one that was sold for $82.5 million.
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
- Quote by Vincent Van Gogh
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