It was 125 years ago this year that Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh died in France. In Holland (and Belgium and France), the artist’s life is being honored with many high-profile exhibitions and festivities. Here are 10 things you should know about this iconic Dutch painter.
1. The painter was born in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands in March 1853. He died in July 1890 at age 37.
2. He was 27 years old when he painted his first piece.
3. When he began painting, he used local peasants as models. He would later paint flowers, landscapes and even himself, in large part because he was too poor to pay proper models.
4. The artist suffered from a type of epilepsy that caused recurrent seizures.
5. It was during a seizure that he tried to attack a friend – Paul Gauguin – with a razor but instead cut off a piece (just a piece) of his own ear.
6. “The Starry Night” was one of his most famous works. He painted it while in an asylum in France.
7. In the short ten years he painted, van Gogh created about 900 paintings.
8. There are several theories about what caused his death, including that he shot himself then died 2 days later. His last words, in French, were “the sadness will last forever.”
9. The artist visually depicted turbulence, a complex mathematical principle, in several paintings completed during particularly chaotic times in his life.
10. And finally, and this is probably most surprising, Vincent sold only one painting in his lifetime and only became famous after his death.
Because this is a commemorative year celebrating the painter’s life, there are many travel tours offered for visitors including cycling through the cities and areas where he was born, where he lived and other important places in his life. No visit to Holland to learn about van Gogh would be complete without a visit to the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam of course.
Even if Amsterdam is on your travel plans this year, you can enjoy a Ted talk on our Facebook page about his “Starry Night” painting and the secrets behind it while you sip some delicious Douwe Egberts coffee.
Please use coupon code DE10AUGNL