Vincent Van Gogh was the son of a Dutch pastor, Theodorus Van Gogh. Vincent was born on 30 March 1853 at Zundert, a village in the south Netherlands. Art was a part of Vincent when he was growing up because several uncles in the family were art dealers. Art and religion, therefore, were among Vincent's early experiences as he grew up in the family home with his three sisters and two brothers. Vincent tried his hand at many things before turning to painting. He worked in the family art dealing business, turned to religion and enrolled at the academy of Fine Art. In 1880, at the age of twenty-seven, Vincent suffered a lot of depression. He had failed in the family's gallery business, failed as a teacher and failed in love. After all this, Vincent decided to become an artist. Even before Vincent had moved to Paris, he was aware of the artistic trend around him. It is certain that in his years working with the art dealers Goupil and Cie in Paris and London, Vincent would have been aware of what was happening in the world of art around him, and in the late nineteenth-century, Paris was at the very centre of that world. When Vincent moved to Paris in 1886, he would of came into contact with many artists through his brother, Theo, who helped sell the most of the famous paintings. Vincent began to experiment a type of painting known as open air painting.
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Vincent relied heavily on his family and friends to support him throughout his life as an artist. It was his brother, Theo, who agreed to support him financially when at the age of twenty-eight, Vincent decided to learn how to paint. That support continued until Vincent's death. His love affair with painting was intense and painful, just as his earlier passions for the church and his unsuccessful relationships with women had been. Vincent left his family and friends when he moved to Paris, but he never stopped writing to them. Vincent's letters to his family and friends was very similar to an autobiography of himself. He wrote to his brother Theo regularly and it is mainly through the existence of these responses to his brother that everyone knows so much about him today. Vincent stayed with his brother Theo in Paris from March 1886 to February 1888 and of course had no need to send letters to him. When he moved to Arles, he sent letters every week to Theo and these letters describes his struggle with himself and his art. It is said that it is impossible to read the letters written by Vincent towards the end of his life without feeling a deep feeling of sorrow. His illness brought madness when he experienced hallucinations complete with voices and visions. These hallucinations were an indication to people of what was later to happen. Vincent shot himself on 27 July 1890, dying two days later. His last, unfinished letter to Theo was found on his body. Some think that he planned his death in order to increase the value of his work and repay his brother.
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