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Vincent Van Gogh was born 30th March 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands, and one of six children to a father who was a minister (as was his grandfather). In 1869, he took his first job, working at an international art dealing firm in the Hague. I was while here Van Gogh began writing to his younger brother Theo, a correspondence that continued for the rest of his life.
Van Gogh's work took him to London and Paris, but such was his disinterest in this career he was dismissed in 1876. For a short spell in England he taught, and then, following in family footsteps, he was a preacher in a mining community in Belgium.
At the age of 27 (1880), Van Gogh decided to become a full-time artist, and moved around, teaching himself to draw and paint, surviving on financial support from Theo. In 1886, Van Gogh joined Theo in Paris, meeting many artists including Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Pissarro and became friends with Gauguin. His style changed greatly under the influence of Impressionism, becoming lighter and brighter, also painting a large number of self-portraits during this period.
In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Provence in southern France, where he painted his renowned 'Sunflowers' series. He invited Gauguin to join him but they soon began to argue violently and one night, Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor. He was so full of remorse after this incident, it was then that he famously cut off part of his own ear.
This was the first signal of the mental health problems that were to affect Van Gogh for the rest of his life, spending time in psychiatric hospitals, swinging from periods of lethargy & depression, then to intense artistic activity; this work reflected the strong colours and unique light of the countryside around him.
Sadly on 27th July 1890, while again plummeting into depression, Van Gogh shot himself, dying two days later.