Vincent van Gogh was one of the true pioneers of modern painting. He is perhaps the most mythologised artist in the history of art and his tragic life is ingrained in the popular imagination. Active as an artist for only ten years he completed 1250 paintings, before succumbing to mental illness and taking his own life in July of 1890. Son of a Dutch Protestant pastor, Van Gogh was a deeply spiritual man and began painting after witnessing the desperate poverty of the agricultural communities of Holland and Belgium. Buoyed up by the unquestioning support and encouragement of his younger brother Theo, Van Gogh developed a highly individualistic visual style, typified by bold forms and short brushstrokes of pure colour. Influenced in part by the Impressionists, Van Gogh strived to develop an expressive language more direct than that of his artistic predecessors in an effort to communicate the almost religious fervour with which he perceived and interpreted the world. Although he sold only one painting during his lifetime, his enormous rise to fame after his death means that today his are among the most cherished paintings of all the great artists.
Presented by Tim Marlow
1 x 23′
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