Vincent van Gogh Biography for Kids
Hello, my name is Vincent van Gogh. I am a Post-Impressionist painter, and I’d like to tell you my story. This is the Vincent van Gogh biography for kids.
I was born in Groot Zundert, Netherlands in 1853.
My father was a pastor of a Dutch Reformed Church, so I learned the Bible growing up, but even from my youth, I was often depressed and suffered from a mood disorder.
I did not study art formally while growing up, and by age 16, I went to work in an art dealership in The Hague, a city in the south of Holland, since my uncles were art dealers. I transferred to London and to Paris, but eventually, I decided I should become a pastor like my father. I then went to Belgium, where I studied to be a minister and was a missionary to the poor coal miners.
I even gave everything I had to those I was ministering to and lived in poverty like them.
I often drew the miners and their families, and my first drawings and paintings are in browns and blacks.
My mood disorders did not get better, and I decided I wanted to serve God as an artist instead of a minister, so I took up art at age 27. “To try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told it in a book; another, in a picture.”
My first introduction to studying art was in The School of the Hague, which tended toward realism and painting outdoors in the light.
They liked to paint landscapes, so I painted them too.
I spent time in Neunen with my family and drew the peasants, the everyday people, using dark colors.
One of my paintings from this time is The Potato Eaters.
Then I moved to Paris, the art capital of the world, where my brother Theo lived. Impressionism was the big movement in art there.
I liked the color and the effect of shimmering light of the Impressionists,that they painted what they saw with their eyes. Then I ran across some Japanese wood-block prints, which had bold bright colors.
Suddenly, I wanted to paint with these bold bright colors and thick outlines! I loved using lots of paint and making thick textures too!
I began to experiment with making self-portraits since I wasn’t very good at interacting with people. I made 35 self-portraits. You can see in my self-portraits that I was not usually happy.
I decided to move to Arles, because I wanted to be back in the countryside.
The light and sunshine were amazing! Yellow became my favorite color…
and I enjoyed painting sunflowers.
I also wanted to paint the night sky, so I created a contraption using a wide-brimmed hat on which I placed candles, so I could see my canvas. Here is my painting The Starry Night with its big stars and shimmering effect.
Here is the Cafe Terrace Place du Forum Arles, also with bright stars and my favorite color yellow.
I hoped to have a studio in the south where other artists could come and paint, and I wouldn’t have to be alone.
But no other artists wanted to join me until my brother, Theo, helped me to convince another painter, Paul Gauguin, to come.
We learned a lot from each other, but unfortunately, we didn’t get along very well. My mental illness didn’t help. One night, I got so upset after we had an argument that I cut off part of my left ear. I even painted a self-portrait of myself with the bandaged ear.
I had to go to an asylum for my mental illness.
After a year, I moved to a town called Auvers-sur-Oise in northern France. I had a good doctor there who cared for me…
but I continued to struggle with dark thoughts, which you can see in some of my paintings, like Wheatfield with Crows.
I only sold one painting during my lifetime, The Red Vineyards.
I was not famous or popular when alive, but my talent was recognized due to the work of Theo’s wife and exhibitions. My paintings are now considered a pillar of modern art and owning one of my paintings is highly valued.
Here’s what you should remember about me. I am Vincent van Gogh, the 19th century post-Impressionist painter known for my thick textures, visible brushstrokes and bright colors and who struggled with mental illness.
Note: Sadly, one day when his despair was too great due to his mental illness, Van Gogh shot himself and died two days later. His art influenced other modern artists in the Expressionist and Cubist movements. You can see his art at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and other great art institutions around the world.
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Kidzaw Master Kitz The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh – learn to paint Vincent’s The Starry Night