Vincent van Gogh

The “master” we will learn about this month was another one of the “Fauvists” or “Wild beasts”. This twentieth-century movement in modern art began in 1899. These painters loved intense color and wanted to be outrageous, and were, for their time. The artist for this month is : Vincent Van Gogh.

He would grow up to become one of the most celebrated artists in the world, known for his swirling images of people, plants and the night sky forever filled with stars. But to the folks who lived in his hometown in the Netherlands, Vincent Van Gogh was just a strange boy who loved to collect bugs! In fact, Vincent loved everything about nature. He spent an inordinate amount of his childhood staring at birds, studying their migration patterns, collecting rare species of flowers, and was known to wander away for hours when a storm was brewing just to watch the effects of the wind, rain and lightning. Always the pessimist, Vincent got along with very few people, save for one, his younger brother Theo. As he grew older, his behavior and appearance grew increasingly bizarre. Even the family maid had a special Dutch word for him that meant, “oddball.”

His mother, also an avid fan of nature, worried that Vincent was by himself too much and encouraged him to take up a hobby such a drawing. At first, Vincent traced and copied birds from books but quickly grew bored and began to sketch his own images. Frustrated with his inability to draw the way he wanted, he grew even more belligerent. His parents arranged a job for him, working for his uncle,  unpacking precious works of art at his art dealership. He handled pieces from masters such as Rembrandt and Jan Verneer. He loved their ability to express themselves through their work and Vincent wished to express himself too. While working at his uncle’s art dealership he fell in love with his widowed cousin. She eventually rejected him due to her parents’ disapproval.  

Vincent then felt called to ministry. He attended seminary in Brussels and began to preach in a small mining town, but his odd behavior kept most people at a distance. He was rejected once again. He was now in his late twenties and this is when he began to paint. Although he painted over nine hundred paintings before his death at the age of 37, many of his best paintings were done in the last two years of his life. He only sold one painting before he died in 1890.

Vincent VanGogh’s distinctive style makes it easy to recognize his paintings. His art was something new, a new way to see the world, and a new way to paint. Because of his paintings a new form of art, called Expressionism, was invented and his work continues to influence artists today.

VanGogh Resources:

*The people at “Play Ideas” definitely have the right idea in Art education by bringing 25 different Van Gogh inspired Art projects to your fingertips; most of which can be accomplished with ordinary art supplies. But don’t stop there; they also have a wide variety of other creative resources for your and family ranging from holiday crafts, printables; even crafty food recipes!


*Jerry’s Artarama has been empowering artists since 1968. Your student can receive over 2000 art lessons for FREE. Using the provided link your student will receive a lesson from Lindsey Volin, one of their many certified Art Educators.

*Mati and Dada are two quirky, fun characters that love solving Art mysteries! Your student will discover the wondrous world of Art when along with Seven-year-old Mati, a cheerful girl with a passion for art, will be magically transported into the lives of great artists by her eccentric sidekick, Dada.

Great Books:

Below are some of my very favorite books about Vincent van Gogh.