Vincent van Gogh
a) Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, the south of the Netherlands. He was the oldest son of Theodorus van Gogh, who was a minister. Young Vincent was serious, silent and thoughtful child. He attended a boarding school at Zevenbergen and was distressed to leave his home as he recalled later as an adult. Later on at the new middle school, Constantijn C. Huysmans, who was a successful artist in Paris, taught him to draw. "My youth was gloomy and cold and sterile." Van Gogh commented on his early years in a letter to his brother, Theo.
b) Van Gogh's work was notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, however while Van Gogh was alive his work was known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. Following his first exhibitions in the late 1880s, Van Gogh's fame grew steadily among colleagues, art critics, dealers and collectors. After his death, memorial exhibitions were mounted in Brussels, Paris, The Hague and Antwerp. By the mid-20th century Van Gogh was seen as one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in history.
c) His palette consisted mainly of somber earth tones, particularly dark brown, and he showed no sign of developing the vivid coloration that distinguishes his later, best-known work. When he complained that Theo was not making enough effort to sell his paintings in Paris, his brother wrote back, telling him that the paintings were too dark and not in line with the current style of bright Impressionist paintings.
d) Nervous, intuitive and passionate.