An Artist Becomes…


“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” —Vincent Van Gogh

It wasn’t until he was a man of twenty-seven that Vincent decided he really wanted to be an artist’ and by the end of 188 1 Vincent left for The Hauge. Having been rejected by a woman’ his cousin that he fell in love with’ Van Gogh turned inward and was ready to go full steam ahead into his art. His heart was hurt due to being rejected and also because of a failing relationship with his aging father’ and Vincent’s mental state was not all that stable either. Vincent was prone to very enthusiastic times followed by very low times’ this was not unusual behavior’ and everyone in his life was aware of this.

Thankfully’ The Hauge provided some respite for Vincent. While there’ Vincent received numerous painting lessons from his cousin’ Aton Mauve’ which inspired him and moved him more towards the life of an artist. Though his first paintings and drawings were not anything he was completely satisfied with’ these first lessons fed an insatiable love for art’ and he dreamed of continuing with this passion that burned within. Vincent actually received his first set of watercolors while there’ as well as his first introduction to working with color. Vincent continued to work with Mauve until 1885′ but soon became restless and wanted new and exciting stimulation’ as was in his character.

It was during this time’ during 1882′ that Vincent reached out for the first time since his being rejected and met a woman named Sien.

Sien was actually a prostitute that had a five-year-old daughter and when they met’ was pregnant with another child. Vincent was able to be involved with Sien and also continue his art studies’ and though he appeared to have everything a man could want’ his physical state deteriorated and he was hospitali2ed for three weeks being treated for gonorrhea. When Vincent was finally released’ he seemed to be in better spirits’ and began for the first time to dabble with oils and used his beloved Sien and her newborn child as models for his artwork.
Sien Facing Left

Vincent maintained a relationship with Sien and her children for about a year’ when finally Vincent ended his relationship with her in an attempt to dedicate himself completely to his artwork. This was a tough thing for Vincent’ as it was his first real relationship with anyone outside of Theo’ which had any substance.
Though Vincent intended to concentrate on his art alone’ he was soon taken with another woman’ Margot Begemann’ the neighbor’s daughter. Both Vincent’s family and Margot’s family were opposed to the relationship’ and the couple’s plan to marry. Margot felt desperate and attempted to poison herself’ which distressed Vincent and brought their relationship to an end. Even as the relationship ended’ Vincent continued his work and found friendship in Aton C. Kerssemakers’ who was an art enthusiast. Vincent found value in their friendship as they spent a lot of time together discussing art and visiting many art museums.

Seeking new and exciting landscapes and other forms of entertainment’ Vincent was once again on the move. Vincent traveled to Drenthe’ which is in Northern Holland and painted the dreary landscapes and peasant workers. After a short stay Vincent Van Gogh returned to his parent’s home until November 1885 after the death of his father in March of that year. This was a busy time for Vincent’ though it marked an end to what had been a tumultuous relationship with his father. It was here at his parental home that Vincent truly evolved into a genuine painter of the Noord-Babrant countryside.

Vincent took pleasure painting the landscapes’ and even the people and home life associated with the area and during this time he also painted those that he had witnessed while in Drenthe.

Even the daily activities were inspiration for a painting with Vincent. It was in Nuenen that he painted his most famous piece’ The Potato Eaters. The Potato Eaters was a true depiction of the respect Vincent had for the people who dug their food from the ground with their bare hands’ and then ate the bearings of the earth with those same hands.
It’s obvious in The Potato Eaters that Vincent was able to release emotion or offer his own take on the world better than he might have been able to through words or language’ although his endless correspondence with his brother Theo was another awesome outlet for emotional expression and intellectual insight. Watching farmers work was moving for Van Gogh’ and much work ‘known and unknown’ came from his time watching the daily lives of these people unfold.

The Potato Eaters is said to be one of Vincent Van Gogh’s best pieces’ and his first mentionable piece of art. Vincent did several drafts of the painting before presenting the world with the final canvas. The Potato Eaters received much criticism’ angering Vincent and even ending a friendship. But’ Vincent found encouragement in the piece’ and used it as support to continue. It was during that time that Vincent really began to experiment with colors and his creativity; he also is known to have taken a deep interest in Japanese woodcuts during this time.

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