Celebrating the Legacy of Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh lived his life creating iconic pieces of wonder and beauty. He was dedicated to the purest form of finding all the good things that the world had to offer, despite only having gained a few of those good things in life for himself. It is only fitting that, through his death, he inspired others to create.

Today, the 29th of July, marks the passing of the legendary Dutch painter; the 125th anniversary, to be exact. As such, many of the things inspired by his life and works have been prevalent in popular culture.

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Van Gogh’s Starry Night

This article, published by Hannah Sheinberg via National Geographic, talks briefly about some of the geographical places Van Gogh’s legacy has impacted, including a bike path that lights up like the Starry Night, and a place to create your own masterpieces, inspired by Van Gogh’s work.

Another piece by the BBC, talks about an artist, Mac Cauley, who has created a virtual reality where you can explore some of Van Gogh’s paintings, and to see the world as he might have seen it. Although most art critics agree that Van Gogh’s mental illness had nothing to do with the way he chose to paint the world around him, the virtual reality simulator represents part of his stylistic impact on modern culture. Robert Hughes, a well-known art critic, is quoted as saying Van Gogh’s works later in life were simply, “longing for concision and grace,” and that they showed no effects of anything impairing the way he saw the world.

And yet still another piece describes a cornfield created for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts by artist Stan Herd, celebrating more of Van Gogh’s fantastic work.

All of these are celebrating the wonderful life of a prolific person, and rightly so. In just over a decade, Van Gogh produced more than 2,100 pieces of art: 860 oil paintings, and more than 1,300 water colors, prints, and charcoal sketches. He also wrote roughly 400 detailed letters to his younger brother Theo, which is the primary reason we know so much about him today.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Although the man himself is still shrouded in some mystery, we know almost everything there is to know about his life. Born on the 30th of March, in 1853, he was the eldest child of six. He was named after not only his grandfather, but also after his still-born older brother, who died exactly a year prior to his birth. Van Gogh had first wanted to be a pastor, like his father and grandfather before him, but he chose a different path after a broken relationship developed between him and his cousin. It wasn’t until 1885 that he painted The Potato Eaters, which now considered his first major work. The rest, of course, is well documented history.

What is it about Van Gogh that keeps people interested? He is one of the most iconic painters of all time – known all around the world – and he has never truly fallen from the artistic spotlight. The intrigue surrounding his name has become more about what Van Gogh means, and less about the man himself, it would seem. Van Gogh has transcended into legend, his works a representation of overcoming depression and anxiety to make the world a more beautiful place. At the age of 37 this legend-to-be committed suicide, no longer willing to combat his anxieties and mental illness. He would be proud that his legacy has inspired so many to create.

About the Author

Emily Thornton IS an artist AND writer. She graduated recently FROM huntington university WITH a bachelor's OF science degree IN digital mediaARTS: animation, meaning, yes, her major IS basically IN cartoons... she has a lot OF passion FOR the arts, artists, AND obviously, animating. Emily spends most OF her time making art, reading, OR playing video games.