Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. Vincent liked to draw as a child but worked many jobs before becoming a full time artist at the age of 27. He worked as a teacher in London, a minister, he also worked in a book shop, an art gallery and as a missionary. He started out sketching pictures using charcoal sticks and pencils eventually moving on to oil paints. Earlier in his career Vincent used a lot of dark colours which can be seen in his most famous earlier painting 'The Potato Eaters' that featured a peasant family eating potatoes for dinner.
Vincent was very much unappreciated in his time on this earth. His brother Theo was his biggest supporter and would give him money and try to sell his paintings but unfortunately no one would by them. He told Vincent about the new style of painting in Paris called Imressionism (a style of painting that captures a feeling or experience in a moment). Vincent decided he would move to Paris to learn from these painters and became very influenced by artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro. He now began to use brighter colours in his paintings and loved to paint subjects from the countryside and streets and cafes of Paris. He also loved drawing portraits and when he did not have a model to draw he would practice by painting self portraits resulting in over 20 of these paintings.
In 1888 he moved to Arles, France. During his time here he painted hundreds of paintings, sometimes he spent so much time painting he would forget to eat which affected his health. He continued to use brighter colours and would sometimes put the paint on the canvas directly from the tubes which meant the paintings would take weeks to dry because the paint was so thick. In 1889 Van Gogh's mental state was deteriorating so he signed himself into a mental hospital. It was during this time that he painted one of his most famous pieces, Starry Night.
We all know the infamous story that he cut off his ear which is 100% true. He used a razor blade and then wrapped it in a cloth and gave it to a woman as a present.
By 1890 his mental health had gotten worse and sadly on July 29th of that year he died from a self inflicted bullet wound to the chest.
It is so sad that he dedicated is life to his art which went unappreciated and now this man is considered one of the worlds most influential artists with his paintings selling for millions and he never lived to see it.
During my trip to Amsterdam I visited The Van Gogh Museum which contains the worlds largest collection of works by Van Gogh. Upon arrival I realised how lucky I was to be on a press visit because the ques to get in were extremely long which is a testament to the appreciation of his works.
The museum itself has a stunning glass entrance hall with everything clearly sign posted for you to find your way around with easy access for wheelchairs to all floors.
I first visited the exhibition, Easy Virtue, Prostitution in French Art. which brings you on a journey learning about prostitution through paintings of women soliciting on streets, wealthy courtesans and brothels. This was an excellent exhibition drawing empathy for these women and the lifestyles which many were forced to live often resulting in death from syphilis. The collection includes paintings from Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and many more.
Walking through the Van Gogh Collection you learn all about the history of the man and his works so even if you are not well up on Vincent Van Gogh, your journey through the exhibition will teach you all you need to know. I particularly loved the collection of his Japanese inspired pieces.
The Van Gogh Musuem is a must visit in Amsterdam, to witness these master pieces was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it.
I rate this tourist attraction 4/5