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BACHELOR PROFILES: Vincent Van Gogh

by Jonathan Belgian Waffle Perry

vincent van goghSo, Vincent Van Gogh was a bachelor.  Had a few girlfriends.  Painted some pictures.  Dated his models.  Hung out with Monet and Gauguin.  Lived with a hooker.   Spent time as a missionary.  Went a little crazy.  Cut off his earlobe.  Painted some more.  Killed himself.  Was one of those tortured artist types.  Poor bachelor artist.

Born in 1853 in Holland, Vincent Van Gogh, the son of a pastor, was raised in a cultured and religious household.  Throughout his life he was a bit unstable and lacked self-confidence.  He held positions as a bookstore clerk, an art salesman, and a missionary in Belgium, a position from which he was forced to resign due to over-zealousness.  He stayed in Belgium to study art.  The most famous work of his early Dutch period is the  somber-toned painting The Potato Eaters.

Starry Night

Starry Night

As often happens with those weird free-wheeling artist types, not to mention pastors’ kids gone bad, Van Gogh became involved with one of his models, Clasina Maria Hoomik, known as ‘Sien‘, a former prostitute.  She and her 2 children moved in with Vincent for a time, until Vincent’s brother Theo pressured Vincent to break off the relationship. Not long after, Margot Begemann fell in love with Vincent, but after opposition from both families, she attempted suicide, leaving Vincent very distraught.  To further matters, Van Gogh was shortly accused of fathering the child of one of his models.  He was shunned by the town and moved.

The Potato Eaters

The Potato Eaters

In 1886 he moved back to Paris where he studied painting with Cormon and met Pisarro, Monet, and Gauguin (what a namedropper).  It was at this point he began painting in lighter tones, using a more Impressionistic style, as he wormed his way into becoming a pioneer of Expressionism.

In Arles, France he’d hoped to meet with his friends and start an art school, cuz art schools are cool.  Eventually Gauguin joined him there, but they didn’t get along and during an epileptic fit, Vincent came at Gauguin with a razor, but instead cut off part of his own earlobe.  Another account says Van Gogh left the scene and cut off his entire ear flush with his head.  A further account says Vincent cut off the earlobe, wrapped it in newspaper and gave it to a prostitute named Rachel, asking her to “keep this object carefully”.  (Happy Valentine’s Day.)  Vincent’s fits of madness worsened and he was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.  It was during his stay at the asylum that he painted The Starry Night, often considered his magnum opus.

In 1890, after showing improvement, he was released from the asylum and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise.  Within a few weeks, he shot himself to death “for the good of all.”   He was 37.  During his short life he produced over 2000 paintings and drawings, but sold only one.

Chalk another one up for creative type goes nuts, fails at relationships, and kills himself.

7 Things You Should Know About Vincent Van Gogh

1.  He’s considered a pioneer of the Expressionist Movement

2.  His most famous painting, Starry Night, was painted while he was in an insane asylum

3.  He cut off at least part of his ear

4.  Served as a missionary for a time in a coal-mining district of Belgium

5.  He had a close relationship with his brother Theo, who supported Vincent financially for many years

6.  He walked into a field and shot himself in the chest.  He died 2 days later.

7.  He was a heavy absinthe drinker

Check out other Bachelor Profiles of woe and related reads:

BACHELORS IN HISTORY

Bachelor Profiles: Sherlock Holmes

BACHELORS IN CATHOLICISM

Bachelor Profiles: Mad King Ludwig

Bachelor Profiles: The Bachelor President

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