The Online Library of Knowledge


Vincent van Gogh

Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1887Self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1887Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) was one of the most famous painters in history. During his short lifetime, he created more than 2000 artworks, including drawings, sketches and 860 oil paintings. His mature work, in what is now known as the Post-Impressionist style, is easily recognizable from its use of swirls, bold brushstrokes and bright colours. Van Gogh began working as an artist aged 27. He spent nearly all his working life in France, where he painted the landscapes and still-life paintings for which he is most famous today. Van Gogh’s work was not at all well known in his lifetime, and he died in poverty. Today, his works are among the world's most expensive paintings, selling for tens of millions of dollars. 


Portrait of Van Gogh's motherPortrait of Van Gogh's mother

Early life

Vincent van Gogh was born on 30th March 1853 in Zundert, a village in the province of Brabant, the Netherlands. Vincent was the eldest of six children. His father was a minister in the Protestant church. His mother Anna, who came from a well-to-do family, was a rather strict, religious woman, but, spotting her son's talent at an early age, she encouraged the young Vincent to draw. When he was 16, Vincent went to work at the gallery of one of his uncles, an art dealer, in The Hague. At 20, he transferred to the gallery's London branch, and then to one in Paris. But the work did not interest him for long and he soon returned to the Netherlands.

Van Gogh often made pencil drawings of his paintings after he had finished them, so that he could more easily send them in the post for his brother Theo to see.

© 2020 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile