The lives of many famous artists have been shrouded in mystery and conjecture, but none have been more controversial than the life of Vincent van Gogh.
Remembered for his swirling brushstrokes and burning colors, Vincent van Gogh is today one of the best-known painters. Though his career as a painter spanned less than ten years, he produced a body of work that remains one of the most enduring in all of modern art. In his lifetime, however, he received little recognition. Today his paintings sell for countless millions, yet during his lifetime, van Gogh managed to sell just one painting.
Van Gogh’s road to be becoming a painter took a circuitous, often troublesome path. In his twenties, van Gogh served as a lay minister in a Belgian mining district. He practiced Christian virtues with such outward zeal that he found himself ostracized from society, which prompted him to set off for Brussels to study art. His religious zeal, his belief in the unimpeachable nature of man and his struggle, and his many tumultuous inner-turmoil’s all resonate through his extraordinary body of paintings.
Public Domain (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
I was a bit suspicious of a biography of Van Gogh's life that would only cover seven and a half hours of normally read text, wondering if anything truly in depth could be accomplished in such a relatively short book--and I was right to wonder. The folksy, often poetic language is interesting and gives a peculiar and often pleasing flavor to the text, but much is glossed over--and while Meier-Graefe gets all the big milestones right (his relationship with Theo, the ear, the shooting, and all the junior high school student already knows), he just gets some things wrong. Anyone who could speak of Vincent's late adolescence as "sailing along" or "happy at home with his parents" must never have encountered any facts about the uptight critical father who thought his son a mad fool, the harping mother whose constant refrain rang "why can't you be more like Theo?!" or the crazily intense antics of a young man who just about drove everyone around him nuts with his endless fiery neediness and often with careless thoughtlessness. I expected more here and would recommend a more in-depth biography of the great artist.
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