Humble Beginnings


“An artist needn’t be a clergyman or a churchwarden’ but he certainly must have a warm heart for his fellow men.” —Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was born to a preacher and a bookseller on March 30′ 1853 in Zundert’ which is a village of Brabant in the South of Netherlands. Vincent was the oldest living child of his family’ though there was a son’ of the same name born and deceased before Vincent was born to share the same name. Four years after his birth’ Vincent’s brother Theo was born. Theo was an integral part of Vincent’s life’ and his letters to his favorite brother are well known to all Van Gogh fans of his life and work.

Vincent began his education at the village school in 186 1′ followed by the attendance at two boarding schools. Van Gogh did quite well in all languages’ but particularly French’ English’ and German. Suddenly’ in March of 1868 Van Gogh left his school and returned to Groot Zundert and never chose to return to his formal education. The reasons for his leaving formal education at the age of fifteen is still sort of a mystery’ though some conclude that emotionally and mentally he was being drawn away from organi2ed types of learning and living and was following his heart and emotion. This theory definitely meshes well with future behavior of Vincent Van Gogh’s.

Vincent did not waste much time finding a career path and in July 1869 he started an apprenticeship at an international art dealership in Paris’ Goupil and Cie. He worked happily in the Hauge at a branch gallery that was actually established by his Uncle Vincent. It is from the Hauge that an 18-year correspondence with his brother Theo began’ as he wrote frequently about his life’ what he saw’ and all of his experiences. Through these letters the young men developed an even closer relationship than they had before.

Vincent continued his work with art dealers and moved to the London Goupil branch in June of 1973. Van Gogh finds that his daily contact with art really inspires an appreciation of paintings and drawings within him. Vincent spent endless hours admiring the paintings of artists such as Jean-Francois Millet and Jules Brenton in the city museums and galleries. The art stirred him in new ways’ and eventually he turned to the Bible. In 1874 Vincent was transferred to Goupil’s Paris branch where he was for just a short time’ about three months’ before he returned to London.
Vincent’s worked with Goupil’s continued to deteriorate as he lost more and more interest in art dealership’ and in May of 1875 he was sent again to Paris. Van Gogh had the opportunity to attend art exhibitions at the Sale and the Louvre’ and he found himself moved again by the artwork and decorated his room with art prints by Hague School and Barbi2on artists. By March 1876′ Vincent was struggling with Goupil’s and was dismissed. When Vincent was finally dismissed from Goupils’ he decided it was the right time to start helping other people’ and decided to become a clergyman. Vincent thought that a clergyman was his calling as he had an intense desire to help other people’ and figured this was the way he could achieve the most in the least amount of time. Ever the emotional man’ Vincent followed his heart.
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