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Terça-feira, 31 / 12 / 19

Vincent Van Gogh Biography: The Sad Story of His Life and His Amazing Art

Alexander Nyland


December 30th, 2019.

This article will be a brief Vincent Van Gogh biography that will tell the story of his life and his art. You will most likely have heard of Van Gogh as he is one of the most well-known, popular and influential figures in post-impressionist and modern art.
Nevertheless, he remained unknown and unappreciated in his lifetime but achieved massive success after his death. This biography of Vincent Van Gogh will cover these aspects as well as much more. Van Gogh’s life and story is as famous as his art, so what will we specifically examine in this biography of this great painter?
What We Will Explore in This Vincent Van Gogh Biography
Here you can read about Van Gogh’s early life, his various occupations up until deciding to become an artist, his difficult career as an artist, his health and mental and physical decline up until his death and his legacy thereafter.
Therefore, we will explore two key components of his life: firstly, his unsuccessful and unappreciated life and career tragically plagued with bouts of mental illness and loneliness, and secondly, the incredible rise to fame after his death and the influence and legacy he left behind.
It is a deeply sad, mournful, yet astonishing story of a man whose life and work has reverberated so intensely through the generations, and it’s easy to see why.
Early Life
Vincent Van Gogh was born in Zundert, The Netherlands, in 1853. He was the oldest son of a pastor, Reverend Theodorus Van Gogh, and had three sisters and two brothers. One brother, Theo, would prove to be an integral part of his career as an artist and in his life – this will be re-visited later on.
At age 15, he left school to work at an art dealership firm in The Hague due to his family’s financial struggles. This job allowed him to travel and took him to London and Paris, where he especially fell in love with English culture. However, after some time, he lost interest in his work and left, which lead him to find another occupation.
Self-portrait, 1887
He then became a teacher at a Methodists boys school in England and also as a preacher at the congregation. Van Gogh had after all come from a devoutly religious family, but it wasn’t until now that he considered having this as a career and dedicating his life to God. However, his ambition and attempts to pursue such a life proved short-lived.
He trained to become a minister but was denied entry to the School of Theology in Amsterdam after refusing to take the Latin exams, scuppering his chances of becoming a minister.
Soon after, he chose to volunteer in the poor mining community in Borinage, southern Belgium.
This is where he immersed himself in the culture and integrated with the people of the community. He preached and ministered to the impoverished and also drew pictures of the people who lived there. Yet, the evangelical committees disapproved of his conduct in this role despite what would seem to be noble work. As a result, he had to leave and find another occupation.
Then Van Gogh believed he had found his calling in life – to become a painter.
Career as an Artist
At the age of 27, in the year of 1880, he decided to become an artist. Theo, his younger brother, would provide him with financial support throughout his endeavours to become successful and respected in his field.
Portrait of Theo van Gogh, 1887
He moved around various locations, teaching himself the craft. He lived briefly in Drenthe and Nuenen painting the landscapes of these places, still life and depicting the lives of the people within them.
In 1886, he moved in with his brother in Paris. It was here where he became exposed to the full inspiration of modern and impressionist art with the work of many prominent painters of the time, for example, Claude Monet. This would prove to be very important to Van Gogh’s development as an artist and matured his style.
He then moved to Arles in southern France with his new-found inspiration and confidence about his choice of career. Over the next year, he produced many paintings, including the well-known series of ‘Sunflowers’. The subjects that he painted during this time; views of the town, the landscape, self-portraits, portraits, nature, and of course sunflowers, helped produce many of the famous and iconic artwork from Van Gogh that hangs in galleries and museums around the world.
Van Gogh would paint with great ferocity and speed in an attempt to map the mood and feelings he had on the canvas whilst he was feeling it.
The expressive, energetic and intense contours and colours of the paintings of this period demonstrate this. And it is not hard to recognise this when standing in front of one of these works – many of which are considered to be his masterpieces.
He had dreams that other artists would join him in Arles where they would live and work together. Part of this vision may have become to materialise when Paul Gaunguin, a post-impressionist painter, came to join him in October 1888. However, the relationship between the two was tense and became toxic. Van Gogh and Gaunguin argued all the time, partly because they had different and opposing ideas. One night, Gaunguin eventually walked out.
Enraged, and slipping into a psychotic episode, Van Gogh took hold of a razor and cut off his ear. This was one of the first explicit signs of his deteriorating mental health, something that would only become worse.
Self-portrait with bandaged ear, 1889
Mental Health and Decline
He spent much of the remainder of his life hospitalised. After bouts of depression and hospitalisation, he was finally admitted to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1889. He would uncontrollably alternate between crushing depression and times of intense artistic activity. When he felt well enough, he would go outside and paint the surroundings. Thus, he reflected the eclectic and powerful mix of colours that he could see.
In 1890, Van Gogh moved to Auvers, north of Paris, to rent a room and become a patient of Dr. Paul Gachet. Van Gogh had been hopelessly unlucky in his love life. He experienced next to no success as an artist. Finally, he was incredibly lonely up until this point. Tragically, he was unable to overcome his crippling depression.
One morning, Van Gogh went out to paint carrying a pistol with him. He shot himself in the chest, was taken to hospital and died two days later in his brother’s arms.
Legacy of Vincent Van Gogh and What We Can Learn from His Biography
Theo was suffering from ill health and was also further weakened by his brother’s death. He also died six months later.
This biography shows the painful and grievous life that Vincent Van Gogh had to endure. This is made all the more tragic when considering that he was unknown during his lifetime. But his legacy now remains and we know him as one of the greatest artists of all time. So how did this legacy come about?
Theo’s wife, Johanna, was an admirer and an ardent supporter of his work.
She collected as many of his paintings as she could. Johanna arranged for 71 of Van Gogh’s paintings to be displayed at a show in Paris on March 17, 1901. As a result, his fame grew enormously and was finally hailed as an artistic genius. His legacy was now ensured.
Johanna also published the letters that were sent between Vincent and his brother Theo after his worldwide fame was established. These letters give words to Van Gogh’s story and charter his struggles as an artist whilst Theo financially aided him. They strikingly give an insight into Van Gogh’s thoughts and feelings throughout this period. These letters give a deeply personal look at the artist’s own beliefs, desires and struggles. Finally, they allow us to gain a profound understanding of the man behind the art.
Wheatfield with Crows, Van Gogh’s last painting, 1890
Van Gogh is widely considered to be a genius and created many masterpieces.
Still, the story of his tragic life may have fueled his reputation and propelled him to the revered and honoured status he has today.
Nevertheless, his work has undoubtedly influenced the field of expressionism in modern art. And of course, it has massively influenced modern art as a whole. Van Gogh’s work has sold for record-breaking amounts of money across the world. His artworks are featured in many major art galleries in many countries.
His unrecognition and his struggles with mental health (documented in the correspondence between him and his brother) depict him as the classic tortured artist that has become dramatised and mythologised in modern times. But this should not distract us from his masterful work. Knowledge of his life only heightens the impact of his art and contributes the accolade of being one of the greatest painters to have ever lived.
  1. https://www.biography.com
  2. https://www.britannica.com



About the Author: Alexander Nyland

Alexander Nyland is an avid writer, blogger and traveller with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Philosophy, graduating in 2018 from the University of Sheffield. His particular focus and interests in his studies included Film and Ancient Greek philosophy. Alex has always been fascinated by art, culture and philosophy and believes they are an integral and important part of all of our lives. He has his own blog, thefilmpheed.com, which discusses these subjects and their role in our lives and society in-depth.

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publicado por achama às 06:26
Quinta-feira, 20 / 06 / 19

7 Weird Movies with Deep Meanings That Will Mess with Your Mind ~ Sofia, Learning Mind


7 Weird Movies with Deep Meanings That Will Mess with Your Mind

By Sofia, Learning Mind





What’s so great about weird movies?

Some movies can be mind-bending. Others might make us question things we thought were set in stone. And others still might bring us face to face with things that are part of us but better left undisturbed. And there are weird movies.
No matter the theme, films and the stories in them are part of our collective consciousness. One way or another, they are reflections of us and of the way we tell each other stories. Most of them follow traditional schemes, narratives and tropes. Even in those imagined spaces, order prevails.
But what about the films that are not concerned with order? What of the stories whose defining trait is their disorder, their… well, weirdness? Weird movies might be even more valuable to us than we ever imagined.

Let’s take a look at some:

  1. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

Panos Cosmatos is no stranger to weird movies.
In 2010, he gave us the indie wonder “Beyond the Black Rainbow”, with its enigmatic imagery, loopy soundtrack and cryptic storyline. This year, he created a sensation with “Mandy”.
There are a lot of factors for Mandy’s success, and the selection of Nic Cage for the role of the deranged protagonist slowly spiraling into a drug-fueled revenge-quest whilst brandishing a humongous medieval looking axe is only one of them.
The soundtrack is heavy and filled with drone sounds, the color palettes are like someone dropped an acid tab onto the film reel, and the story… Well, the story, centered around Andrea Riseborough’s character, is a trip in and of itself.
  1. The Devils (Ken Russel, 1971)

“The Exorcist” who? This is one of THE seminal weird movies on demonic possession. The film is a dramatized historical account of the rise and fall of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest executed for witchcraft following the supposed possessions in Loudun, France.
Reed plays Grandier in the film and Vanessa Redgrave plays a hunchbacked sexually repressed nun who finds herself inadvertently responsible for the accusations. The summary doesn’t do this disturbing film an ounce of justice.
The weirdness of the film derives from its visuals as well as its story. Derek Jarman, who worked as Russel’s production designer, created a filmic world in a film about religion, lush with the most sacrilegious colors, aesthetic and imagery.
Redgrave probably rose to new heights owing to her magnificent obsessive contortions, and the antithesis of the clash between piousness and grotesquery is something that will mess with your head for a long, long while.
  1. The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)

Speaking of weird, grotesque imagery, how do you like this gem by Peter Greenaway? This is one of those weird movies that don’t really scare you, but you can’t forget them for a minute.
It contains only three or so sets, a deranged mob leader, a guy who always reads, one very white bathroom, and the odd bit of cannibalism. Oh, and food. Lots and lots of food scenes.
Also, an albino ten-year-old tenor. Saying any more than this would really spoil the experience. Nonetheless, his is one weird movie you do not want to neglect seeing.
  1. A Field in England (Ben Wheatley, 2013)

A new strain of weird movies has arisen in the past decade, harking back to the 70’s. It’s called “folk horror revival”, based on the folk horror films of British Cinema in the 70’s, such as “The Wicker Man”.
Ben Wheatley, director of “A field in England”, has contributed to the trend with the majority of his filmography. All his films are a little cooky, but “Field” takes the cake. The film, shot in black-and-white, is set during the mid-17th century English Civil War.
Basically, a bunch of soldiers, an alchemist’s assistant and the alchemist eat a bunch of trippy field mushrooms and thing get really weird after that. The director utilized the use of black and white to create exposure effects, and other montaging tricks.
“A field in England” isn’t just weird; like “Mandy”, it’s a trip that one has to see to truly understand.
  1.  Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008)

If Panos Cosmatos is “no stranger to weird movies”, then Sion Sono, the madman who made this epic on love as a religion of collective madness, is the master of weird movies.
“Love Exposure” is nearly four hours long. It all revolves around a teenage Japanese boy trying to win the heart of his man-hating beloved. He believes she is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, thus completing his mother’s dying wish.
If this isn’t weird enough, he tries to achieve that via rigorous panty-shots training, excessive deception and becoming involved in a religious cult led by a stalker who also traffics cocaine on the side.This is a weird movie because it really commits to its depiction of love as a religious craze. Not only that, but its length, love-stricken characters, guerilla-style filming and overall offbeat humor contribute to a real cinematic experience.
  1.  Millennium Actress (Satoshi Kon, 2001)

This is one of my favorite films. As far as weird movies go, this might seem a little tame. Upon closer inspection, however, one can tell that this rightly deserves its title as a weird movie.
“Millennium Actress” deals with director Satoshi Kon’s most persisting question: what are the limits of our perception? What is the nature of memory, individual and collective? How is our reality “real”, based on these perceptions and memories?
The movie tells the story of two documentary filmmakers investigating the life of a retired acting legend. As she tells them the story of her life, the difference between reality and cinema becomes blurred.
In “Millennium Actress”, the weirdness lies in the execution. Anyone familiar with Kon’s work knows that he reveled in manipulating filmic space and time via the medium of animation. From one moment to the next, frames collapse onto one another.
We are transported, through the two journalists acting as audience surrogates, from the real world to movie sets and scenes. The scenes are anachronistic, all over the place.  They constitute fragments of the collective memory of Japanese cinema’s landmark moments.
The weirdness of the film lies in the lack of distinction between real life and cinematic life. If there is any difference at all, that is. The film seems to say that all that matters regarding our grasp of “real” is one thing, our memories.
  1.  Skins (Pieles, Eduardo Casanova, 2017)

Hey, it’s on Netflix! Skins (Spanish: Pieles) is a 2017 Spanish drama film directed by Eduardo Casanova. Weird movies-wise, its pastel color palette is only the tip of the iceberg.
Skins gets a spot in this list not because its weirdness is some sort of breakthrough. Instead, it was its anchoring into the most human and profound feelings: the desire to be loved and accepted.
All of the characters in Skins suffer from some form of physical deformity. One woman has only half a “normal” face. A man has modified himself to look like a mermaid. A woman has her anus and her mouth positions reversed and another man suffers from a facial burn.
Yet, despite the physical weirdness, through bittersweet humor and while condemning the fetishization of disabilities, the film has a heart.

Do you know any other movies that would be a good fit for this list? Please share them with us in the comment section below!


About the Author: Sofia
Sofia has a bachelor degree in law. She is moonlighting as a writer and aspiring to one day gather enough experiences and turn them into ink and paper. The intricacies of the human mind and its peculiar ways have always fascinated her and urged her to explore more, not only humans but humanity as a whole, hopefully leading her to interesting findings. She is a literature, music and movie geek to boot.
Copyright © 2012-2019 Learning Mind. 
All rights reserved. 
For permission to reprint, contact us.

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