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The Starry Night in Vincent van Gogh Biography for Kids

Vincent van Gogh Biography for Kids

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.

Vincent van Gogh Biography for Kids
Vincent van Gogh Biography for Kids

I was born in Groot Zundert, Netherlands in 1853.

Map of the Netherlands
Map of the Netherlands

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.

Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh
Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh

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.

Miners by Vincent van Gogh
Miners by Vincent van Gogh

I even gave everything I had to those I was ministering to and lived in poverty like them.

Coalmine in the Borinage by Vincent van Gogh
Coalmine in the Borinage by Vincent van Gogh

I often drew the miners and their families, and my first drawings and paintings are in browns and blacks.

Coal Shoveler by Vincent van Gogh
Coal Shoveler by Vincent van Gogh
Digger by Vincent van Gogh
Digger by Vincent van Gogh
A Man with a Broom by Vincent van Gogh
A Man with a Broom by Vincent van Gogh

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.

Landscape with Windmill by Vincent van Gogh
Landscape with Windmill by Vincent van Gogh

They liked to paint landscapes, so I painted them too.

Alley Bordered by Trees by Vincent van Gogh
Alley Bordered by Trees by Vincent van Gogh
Autumn Landscape at Dusk by Vincent van Gogh
Autumn Landscape at Dusk by Vincent van Gogh

I spent time in Neunen with my family and drew the peasants, the everyday people, using dark colors.

Head of a Peasant Woman with Brownish Cap by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Peasant Woman with Brownish Cap by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Peasant with a Pipe by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Peasant with a Pipe by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Peasant Woman with White Cap by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Peasant Woman with White Cap by Vincent van Gogh

One of my paintings from this time is The Potato Eaters.

The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh
The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh

Then I moved to Paris, the art capital of the world, where my brother Theo lived. Impressionism was the big movement in art there.

Head of a Man, Possible Theo van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh
Head of a Man, Possible Theo van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh

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.

Japonaiserie after Hiroshige by Vincent van Gogh
Japonaiserie after Hiroshige by Vincent van Gogh

Suddenly, I wanted to paint with these bold bright colors and thick outlines! I loved using lots of paint and making thick textures too!

Landscape with House and Ploughman by Vincent van Gogh
Landscape with House and Ploughman by Vincent van Gogh
The Seine Bridge at Asnieres by Vincent van Gogh
The Seine Bridge at Asnieres by Vincent van Gogh

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.

Self-Portrait 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait with a Grey Felt Hat by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait with a Grey Felt Hat by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 1 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 1 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 2 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 2 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 9 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait 1887 9 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

I decided to move to Arles, because I wanted to be back in the countryside.

Arles View from the Wheatfields by Vincent van Gogh
Arles View from the Wheatfields by Vincent van Gogh

The light and sunshine were amazing! Yellow became my favorite color…

Sower with Setting Sun by Vincent van Gogh
Sower with Setting Sun by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent's Bedroom in Arles by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles by Vincent van Gogh

and I enjoyed painting sunflowers.

Still Life Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
Still Life Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

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.

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Here is the Cafe Terrace Place du Forum Arles, also with bright stars and my favorite color yellow.

Cafe Terrace Place du Forum Arles by Vincent van Gogh
Cafe Terrace Place du Forum Arles by Vincent van Gogh

I hoped to have a studio in the south where other artists could come and paint, and I wouldn’t have to be alone.

van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin
van Gogh Painting Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin

But no other artists wanted to join me until my brother, Theo, helped me to convince another painter, Paul Gauguin, to come.

Self-Portrait at Lezaven by Paul Gauguin
Self-Portrait at Lezaven by Paul Gauguin

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.

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh

I had to go to an asylum for my mental illness.

Corridor in the Asylum by Vincent van Gogh
Corridor in the Asylum by Vincent van Gogh

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…

Dr. Paul Gachet by Vincent van Gogh
Dr. Paul Gachet by Vincent van Gogh

but I continued to struggle with dark thoughts, which you can see in some of my paintings, like Wheatfield with Crows.

Wheat Field with Crows by Vincent van Gogh
Wheat Field with Crows by Vincent van Gogh

I only sold one painting during my lifetime, The Red Vineyards.

The Red Vineyards by Vincent van Gogh
The Red Vineyards by Vincent van Gogh

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.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Check out the video too!

Resources:

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