Vincent Van Gogh

Biography Project for Mrs. Hemry's 8th grade Language Arts class

Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30th, 1853 in a town called Groot-Zundert, which is a town in the southern Netherlands. He Died at the age of 37 on July 29th, 1890, After he shot himself in the stomach the day before.

Significant Events in History that Affected Vincent's Life

  • Impressionism - A movement that had burst on the Paris art scene in the 1870's. Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Degas were the recognized leaders.

Vincent's Childhood

Vincent's parents had a small house and a big family. In all he had 5 brothers and sisters. He spent a lot of time outdoors. He was solitary by nature and often wandered by himself in the fields and heaths that surrounded the parsonage. Vincent went to the village school, but his parents took him out in fear that it was making him too rough. They then hired a governess to teach all the children at home. Vincent's parents had a child named Vincent, but he was stillborn. So they had another, and named him Vincent too. Everyday Vincent would walk past his early brother's grave. He might have thought that the dead Vincent was the rightful Vincent, the one who would remain perfect in his parents hearts, and that he was merely an unsatisfactory replacement. This could be a reason why he was so lonely.

People who Influenced Vincent's Life

  • Vincent's Mother (Anna Cornelia van Gogh-Carbentus) - A gifted amateur artist who filled her notebooks with drawings of plants and flowers. She thought Vincent had a pleasant talent that might be useful some day. She encouraged him throughout her life.
  • Theo ( Vincent's younger brother) - Theo and Vincent were real close throughout the end of their days. In Vincent's lifetime, he wrote well over 600 letters to Theo, talking to him, asking him questions, and sending his paintings for Theo to display.
  • Sien (Christine Hoornik) - She was a pregnant prostitute who Vincent found on the street. He helped her, and in return, she modeled for him. She lived with him for awhile, but they parted and never saw each other again.

Unique Facts!

  • Vincent once built a clay elephant when he was little. It was remarkably well for his age. Though he smashed it when he thought his parents praised it more than he thought it deserved.
  • For failures, real or imagined, he would punish himself by beating his back with a rope, or else locking himself out of his Uncle's house and sleeping in a cold shed without a blanket.
  • Yellow had a special significance for Vincent, it stood for life and energy.


  • Took classes in Dutch, German, French, English, arithmetic, history, geography, geometry, botany, zoology, gymnastics, calligraphy, and linear and freehand drawing.
  • In his 444 days in Arles, Vincent produced 200 paintings and over 100 drawings and watercolors.
  • In Road with Cypress Trees, Which has many dynamic shapes and thick layers of paint show Vincent at the height of his powers. This was his most dramatic painting.
  • Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night, which depicted his many memories put together. For Example, the looming Cypress in it can be found in the South of France, and the tall church steeple found in the small village nestled at the foot of the mountains is Dutch. All of the vigorous lines were inspired by German Woodcuts.
Vincent van Gogh's Road with Cypress painting.
Van Gogh's Starry Night.

The Theme of Vincent's life was...

Vincent Van Gogh maintained the belief that you should make the most of your life, no matter how many times you fail, or how many times you succeed, and that you should always believe in yourself.

Words of Advice from Vincent.

  • "I scoff at your technique"
  • When Anton pointed out that Vincent didn't sign his paintings, Vincent said "Actually it isn't necessary, they will surely recognize my work later on and write about me when I am dead and gone."
  • "If it were so easy, there would be no fun in it"

Works Cited

  • Paintings
  • "Karen Wall Garrison Paintings." : Trip To East Coast. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
  • "Posters, Affiches Road with Cypresses, 1890." Galerie Création. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.
  • Greenberg, Jan, and Sandra Jordan. Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist. New York, NY: Delacorte, 2001. Print.

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