Vincent van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 in the Netherlands. He had two brothers and three sisters. He was best friends with his brother Theo. Van Gogh’s dad was a pastor and he had many uncles who were art dealers (people who buy and sell art). Vincent van Gogh learned art in school. After school was over he worked for the church as a missionary and he worked as an art dealer. During this time drew the things around him as a way to journal and keep memories of where he had been and what he saw.
Van Gogh was a very strong-willed person who got into fights with people and did crazy things when upset. He had a lot of different girlfriends, many who he proposed marriage to, but they refused. He was sick often due to his bad habits (drinking, smoking, prostitutes).
Van Gogh became friends with other artists while living in France. Many of the friends became famous after their group shows. Their styles of painting were similar although each kept their own style.
Van Gogh grew mentally ill and threatened his painter friend, Gauguin, with a razor blade. No one knows for sure what happened next but he ran to a brothel with a bit of his own earlobe and gave it to a prostitute. In July of 1890 he shot himself in the chest, but did not die until three days later after not seeking medical attention.
Van Gogh will be remembered for his self-portraits as well as the scenes the show what was around him such as his bedroom, the night sky, and sunflowers.
Tie in to Project
Van Gogh’s drawing and painting style stood out among the others because of his use of line. If you look at “Starry, Starry Night” or “Grove of Cypresses” you can see that most of the lines are curly. Different types of lines bring personality to a work.
Example on Board:
Draw a stick figure with straight lines and then a circle for the head. Now draw a stick figure using a jagged line or a dotted line. Ask the class what kind of emotions the stick figures convey?
Choose a still life object and draw it four times. One with straight line then each time use a different type of line.
Be creative on the type of line you use.
Pencil and Paper
Still Life Object
EASY: ball, book, cup, clock
MEDIUM: branch, chair, lamp, fruit
DIFFICULT: face, animal, landscape
Explore another medium such as india ink, marker, charcoal.
Use the same medium for each drawing. This will help stay focused on line.
Use the same color for each drawing. Colors also convey emotion and will distract.
If you would like to display one of these drawings do each drawing on a separate sheet of paper and mat.
Look at each others four drawings. List the emotions conveyed.
Or provide a list of emotions like energetic, silly, etc and have them find the drawing that best fits. Give out an awards to the Scariest Drawing, the Angriest Drawing, etc.
Which chair would you want to sit on? Why?