10 curiosities about the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh

Index of contents

We dive into the figure of the Dutch painter, unanimously considered one of the best artists in history. From his dead brother to his use of a rare yellow pigment.

Although it is well known, turns out to be a myth: Vincent van Gogh He did not sell just one painting in his entire life. The big question would be, in any case, how many did he paint. Because the exceptional artist born in Zundert, in the Netherlands, in 1853, and reproduced and admired around the world, he barely worked a decade, since his passion for canvases and brushes came to him when he was 27 years old (or 28, depending on the source), dying from a gunshot to the head, which is not yet known whether he was a suicide or not, in 1890, at age 37. In that time, he had time to finish about 900 works.

Now we dive into these curiosities both about those paintings and about his work, just like we did with Piet Mondrian.

1. Vincent, a name in honor of his deceased brother.

Vincent Van Gogh would not have been called Vincent if his older brother, the first Vincent Van Gogh, I wouldn't have died when I was a baby. They buried him in the church of Zunder where his father, Theodorus Van Gogh (the same name that the artist's younger brother, Theo, would later receive), became a Protestant pastor.

By chance, Van Gogh was born just one year after his deceased brother was born, on March 30, which is why he was baptized with the same name. Later, Theodorus and his wife, Anna Cornelia, would have four more children: Cornelius, Elisabetha, Anna, and Wihelmina Jacoba. Unfortunately, the original family home, on the town's main street (Markt, 29) was demolished in 1903.

Casa Van Gogh magazine Nomadart
Image of the house where the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh was born

2. Painting, a late vocation

Although his genius and technique are undeniable, Vincent Van Gogh was inspired at a much more mature age than his other genius colleagues such as Picasso. More specifically, he decided to hold the brush and finish his first work at the age of 27. He had previously only experimented with drawing in illustrations included in letters addressed to his brother Theo.

Van Gogh ilustraciones magazine Nomadart
Drawings by Vincent Van Gogh in the letters he sent to his brother Theo.

3. Yellow pigment which we will not appreciate.

It's a shame, but no one today sees a Van Gogh painting as it was painted. Above all, those paintings that contain the color yellow, such as his famous Sunflowers or The Arles bedroom. And it is that the artist lived the time of the Industrial Revolution and at that time A new pigment called chrome yellow saw life.

It is not only that this pigment was toxic, but also chemically unstable, which has caused over the years that many tones have disappeared and the paintings, darkened and lost part of their luminosity. Koen Janssens, one of the heads of the investigation About this painting that had lost its vibrancy, he summarized: "Reversing that chemical reaction would probably cause more damage to the paintings."

4. The only sale of his entire career

Although the myth that Van Gogh had not sold a single work in his entire career has spread over the years, the truth is that it is certain that the famous Dutch artist did sell at least one painting. This was The red vineyard near Arles, which was painted by the artist in the year 1888 and that it was sold for the price of 400 francsa a Belgian painter named Anna Boch.

El vinedo rojo Van Gogh Magazine Nomadart

5. "Dirty and badly dressed"

He lived 122 years and 164 days. We talk about Jeanne Louise Calment, the oldest known person in history. Born in France in 1876, Jeanne Louise Calment met Vincent Van Gogh, since she was also in Arles at the time the painter spent his famous season there in 1888.

When she was 12 or 13 years old, she recalled, the Dutch genius went to Jeanne's uncle's shop to buy various inks. "[He was] Dirty, very badly dressed and unpleasant," he commented on one occasion, as he was collected in the McCook Gazette from August 4, 1997, year in which he died. Also, as he collected his obituary in The New York Times, he believed that Van Gogh was “Very ugly, serious, rude and sick; I forgive him, they said he was crazy ".

Curiosidades Van Gogh magazine Nomadart

6. The illness he suffered from birth.

Van Gogh was born with a brain dysfunction that marked his life from birth. The painter suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy which caused seizures. The painter tried to calm his pain absent, a drink that mixed with the treatment that his doctor prescribed for his brain injury, digitalis, can cause people to see the world in a more yellow tone, historians pointing to what could be one of the reasons why the painter used this color so much.

Trigal con segador Van Gogh Magazine Nomadart

7. The mysteries of Van Gogh's life

There are many hypotheses and doubts that surround the life of the Dutch artist. One of the most notable is the loss of his ear, having gone down in history the certainty that it was automated after an argument in Arles, although later indications have emerged that the incident occurred in a brothel and that the ear was sliced with a sword by his colleague and painter Paul Gauguin. Apparently, Van Gogh later wrapped her in a scarf and gave her to a prostitute named Raquel.

Another of the great mysteries of Van Gogh's life was undoubtedly his death. All accounts suggest that it was a suicide at 37 years of age after a huge depression of the artist, self-firing a bullet in the head. Although as we already wrote in this article Recently, large-scale clues have appeared that suggest that it could have been a murder, and all thanks to roots that appear in his work Tree Roots.

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Tree Roots, the work that throws new clues to Van Gogh's death.

8. Its relationship with the physical theory of turbulence.

A recent study shows that specifically three of his works, The starry night "," Road with cypress and star "and" Wheat field with crows " Created in their most psychotic stage, they accurately capture the physical theory of fluid turbulence and reproduce the laws that the Russian physicist and mathematician Andrei Kolmogorov described in 1941.

These hallucinatory works by the artist reflect the fingerprint of turbulence with such realism that they fully match Kolmogorov's mathematical model.

Manuel Torres - Member of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)
van gogh noche estrellada Magazine Nomadart
The Starry Night, one of the works that explains the interesting theory of turbulence.

9. Music inspired by the Dutch painter.

It is clear that anyone who is asked how the painter of Wheatfield with crows or Cafe terrace at night in music he will say that with the name of the popular San Sebastian band La oreja de Van Gogh, which referred to the famous episode in which the painter cut himself (or had his ditto cut).

But it is not the only group that it has inspired. In fact, one of the most famous rock groups in Serbia, founded in 1986, it was named as such: Van gogh. And it is still active. Likewise, it is impossible not to mention here the American singer-songwriter Don McLean, who apart from his well-known anthem American pie, It has a song, titled Vincent, inspired in The starry Night.

La Oreja de Van Gogh magazine Nomadart
Musical group La Oreja de Van Gogh

10. Monopoly

Like Mondrian, Van Gogh also has his own board game. Although in this case it is a version of another much better known: a Monopoly. Obviously the rules remain the same, although instead of buying properties own works of art are acquired of the Dutch painter, the train stations of the places he passed, and all this using exclusive tokens such as a paint tube or his famous bed.

Although it is only available in English and Dutch, if you want to obtain, here it is possible.

Monopoly Van Gogh magazine Nomadart
Board game inspired by the figure and life of Van Gogh


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Nomadart Editorial
Nomadart Editorial

An article on art and culture, written from the editorial studio of Nomadart.

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