“What am I in the eyes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low.  All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.

Vincent Van Gogh

You can almost see the insecurity of his mind within his troubled eyes.  This self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt, revealed what might be going on within.  An obsessive compulsive personality  became apparent not only in his daily behavior, but also in his art work.  Largely self taught, Vincent spent his life chasing the light, so to speak.  He was an outdoor painter hoping to capture the light in the moment.  His bold, post impressionistic brush strokes and often primitive style, were not popular in his time.  Demand for his work came after his death.

Vincent was born on this day in 1853 to Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and Anna Cornelia Carbentus.  His mother was strictly religious and her hovering became almost claustrophobic to Vincent.  It’s easy to blame the mother for a child’s mental state later in life, but Vincent admitted that he was a quiet child who kept pretty much to himself.  His relationship with his brother, Theo would last for his entire life. They corresponded relentlessly and Theo saved the letters over time.

As a child, he was encouraged by his mother to follow his interest in art.  Yet he was expected to become involved in the work of the church by his father. His early works included still life drawings and were nothing in comparison to those he would produce the last ten years of his life.  He would later refer to his childhood as “austere and cold, and sterile”.

In his short time on earth, his greatest amount of work was produced in his last ten years.  He created 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in his last two years. His existence was riddled with tragedy and poor choices in his lifestyle and relationships. He spoke of hearing voices and was admitted to an asylum for mental illness.  We’ve all heard the story of his cutting of his earlobe with a razor and practically bleeding to death.  He sent the lopped ear to a prostitute he was acquainted with.  He drank too much.  Didn’t take care of his physical well being.  He was a constant customer of prostitutes and never really settled into any one thing permanently.

At the age of 37, he shot himself and died a few days later from the gunshot wound he suffered.  He continues to exist in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist “where discourses on madness and creativity converge”.  His mental state was probably due to malnutrition, over work and alcohol, but he could well have been suffering from bipolar disease, because his difficult times were episodic.

His work became popular posthumously.  He became a new voice in the art arena.  His bright yellows and oranges, his bold intentional brush strokes and his zeal were all part of what makes an artist.  What makes a genius is what is often hidden in the recesses of the same mind that took his life.


About atimetoshare.me

As I reach the end of my years, I find I have a lot of good information stored up in this old decrepit mind of mine. If I don't write it all down, it may vanish and no one will have the advantage of my thoughts. This is why this blog exists. I love the Lord, Jesus with all my heart and soul. I know I'm undeserving of all He's done for me, but I also know that His love is beyond my comprehension. I've always wanted to write. I never kept diaries, but tucked my thoughts in my head for future reference. I use them now in creating stories, plays, poetry and my blog. I continue to learn every day. I believe the compilation of our time spent with God will have huge affect on the way we live. I know I'm a sinner and I need a Savior. I have One through Jesus, Christ. My book, "Stages - a memoir," is about the seven stages of life from the perspective of a woman. It addresses all the things girls and women go through in life as they travel it with Jesus, and it is available on Amazon.com.
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  1. Unshaken Joy says:

    His story and quotes always make my heart ache because he struggled so much to understand his value and worth. Yet he created such achingly beautiful pieces of art! Every person–however talented–has his or her struggles. No one is immune from brokenness. Thank God for saving us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a tragic story…it’s heartbreaking. But his work is magnificent. Great post, dear Kathy! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • atimetoshare.me says:

      He was able to express his passion through his art and even though he didn’t gain wealth in his life, he did in death.


  3. Yep…I love dear ol Vincent…we studied him a great deal when I was still in the classroom..
    a truly beautiful yet very trouble mind…did you know he had wanted to be a priest?
    and the ear thing…well I blame Paul Gauguin

    Liked by 1 person

    • atimetoshare.me says:

      Yes I read that he spent some time in the monastic life. Gauguin was his idol wasn’t he, but he kind of lorded over him. I still remember the movie with Kirk Douglas and his passion for painting quickly to capture the light.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Valentina says:

    Love this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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