Mapping Monet’s Legacy of Impressionism

There are famous painter name in art history more familiar than that of Vincent van Gogh. The Dutch Post-Impressionist painter was born in the Netherlands in 1853 and is known for his bold, expressive use of color and brushstrokes that defined an entire era of art. His life was a tumultuous one, filled with personal tragedy and bouts of mental illness that ultimately led to his suicide in 1890. Let’s take a look at the life and work of this remarkable artist. 

Life Story 

Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30th, 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands to Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. He was the eldest son of six children born into an upper-middle-class family. His father was a pastor and his mother an artistically inclined woman who enjoyed drawing neighbors’ portraits as well as creating her own textile designs.  

From a young age, Van Gogh had an inclination towards art, with his mother providing him with instruction from the age of 15 or 16. Despite this interest, he went on to pursue several different professions before returning to art at 27 years old – these included working for a bookseller and becoming a lay preacher in Belgium. 

Artwork & Achievements 

Van Gogh began painting seriously only after moving to Paris in 1886 where he lived alongside fellow artists Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. Here he developed what would become his iconic style – thick brushstrokes with intense colors combined with swirls of light which characterizes much of his work today. During this time he also created some of his most recognizable pieces such as ‘The Starry Night’ (1889) and ‘The Potato Eaters’ (1885).  Following several difficult periods throughout Europe including Paris, Arles and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Van Gogh chose to move back to Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris where during June 1890 he tragically committed suicide aged 37 after shooting himself in the chest – although it remains unclear if this was intentional or accidental due to conflicting accounts from witnesses at the time.  

Despite having only sold one painting during his lifetime (Red Vineyard at Arles), Van Gogh’s legacy cemented him as one of the world’s best painters following his untimely death. His works have gone on to be exhibited around the world while inspiring generations since – particularly modern masters such as Francis Bacon who famously quoted him saying “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint…and that voice will be silenced.”  


Vincent van Gogh’s influence has been felt far beyond the confines of art history; his powerful sense of color, composition, form and expression still resonates even today through countless works inspired by him across many mediums both visual and literary alike. It is hard not to marvel at how such beauty can come out from someone whose life met with so much tragedy but perhaps therein lies part of its appeal – creating something beautiful out from nothingness – which may explain why Van Gogh remains so beloved by many even 130 years after his untimely demise.


Ivy Skye Marshall: Ivy, a social justice reporter, covers human rights issues, social movements, and stories of community resilience.