Vincent Van Gogh

The dynamic brushstrokes and thick layering of paint of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) make his works easily recognizable and almost seem like living entities. Influenced by the Impressionists he encountered while working in France, his work only grew from that base.

Tormented by seizures, he was particularly drawn to and calmed by the area in and around the south of France. He is well known for one dramatic act of self-destruction. In the winter of 1888, he sliced off part of his left ear and delivered it to a prostitute. This one act sometimes overshadows his career as a whole. It is however, simply one dramatic action in the life of Van Gogh. Suffering from recurrent seizures, probably due to epilepsy, he voluntarily committed himself to a mental hospital in 1889. After the incident and the worsening of his condition, he quickly slipped into depression over his inability to work and committed suicide at the age of 37.

Though his career was short, he was incredibly prolific, leaving behind some 864 paintings and almost 1,200 drawings and prints. He was also a prolific letter writer, and more than 800 of his letters remain which help scholars piece together the influences and thoughts of this iconoclastic master.
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