Van Gogh is the famous painter who painted Sunflowers and The Starry Night. Now that more than 100 years have passed since his death, he is recognized by many as one of the genius painters.
However, he did not become a painter in earnest until he was 27 years old, and he had been active as a painter for only 10 years when he died at the young age of 37. It is a well-known fact that the only painting that sold during his lifetime was The Red Vineyard.
Of course, he had prodigious painting skills and expressive color techniques, but he also had many inexplicable behaviors that others could not understand. Let's look into three of the most representative ones.
A Problem Child that No One Can Handle, but He Loved His Family More than Anyone Else
Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. Born the eldest son, he has three sisters and two brothers.
His family was a prestigious family that had produced a minister of finance and a diplomat. As a result, he was treated like a monk and is said to have lived a wealthy life.
However, his personality was that of a difficult boy who was quick to throw tantrums. He was treated as a problem child by his parents and teachers, who could not handle him, as he often skipped school or got into fights with his classmates. When he did sneak out of school, he would go to the beach near the school to paint.
He himself said, "I couldn't bear the boredom of sitting in a chair all the time". His relatives were worried about him, who was treated as a problem child, and often held meetings about him. After these meetings, it was decided that Van Gogh was not fit for school, and he was assigned to work at his uncle's art gallery.
Although he was quick to lose his temper and was always a nuisance to his parents, he cherished his family more than anyone else. On his family's birthdays, he gave them presents of paintings that he was good at. The following is a drawing he sent to his father for the birthday when he was 11 years old. It is a delicate drawing that is hard to believe that an elementary school student drew it.
He was not only close to his parents, but also to his younger brother Theo. Theo played an important role in Van Gogh's life as a painter.
Cut off His Ear and Present it to the Woman He Loved
In 1888, Van Gogh began living with a painter named Paul Gauguin in a yellow house in South Arles. It was during this shared living arrangement that Van Gogh created many of his works, including Sunflowers, which is still talked about to this day. The following is the The Yellow House painted by him.
However, attracted by each other's talents, Van Gogh and Gauguin began to live together, but their quarrels gradually increased. As mentioned earlier, Van Gogh was quick to lose his temper, and their relationship worsened day by day.
Gauguin, who could no longer stand it, criticized Van Gogh for the strange left ear in his self-portrait. Van Gogh was so offended by this that he punched Gauguin…and then cut off his own left ear. Gauguin was appalled by Van Gogh's actions and left the house.
After cutting off his ear, Van Gogh gave it as a gift to a woman who lived nearby and whom he had a liking for. The woman screamed and the police rushed to the scene. Based on the woman's testimony, the police went to the yellow house and found Van Gogh covered in blood.
Van Gogh was then sent to a mental hospital, and the "Ear Cutting Incident" was widely reported in the local newspaper.
Painted What Should not be Visible
Van Gogh was a painter who painted landscapes, flowers, and people, all of which he saw with his own eyes. However, while in a mental hospital after the ear cutting incident, he painted inexplicable things.
This is a work called The Starry Night. It is said that Van Gogh painted this work from his hospital room.
However, from his hospital room, the large cypress on the left and the church in the lower center of the painting were not visible at all.
He also used a swirling expression when looking at the night sky. This was a technique of expression that was not used in his landscape paintings before he was admitted to a mental hospital.
Cypresses was also painted in a mental hospital. It is said that there were indeed cypresses in the hospital, but they were not this large. Also in this work, the sky is represented by swirls.
It is said that after the ear cutting incident, he may have gone mentally crazy and had hallucinations. However, many works painted in mental hospitals, such as The Starry Night, are also popular among Van Gogh fans.
How were the 3 inexplicable behaviors of the genius painter Van Gogh?
You could learn that he is a very mysterious person. Perhaps if he were around today, he would have been treated as a "genius" or a "pervert"!
The Impressionist influence that Van Gogh brought to the world continues to spread regardless of time and country.
Check out these Impressionist works by Japanese contemporary artists.