II. Early Life of van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Groot- Zundert, a village close to Breda in the province of North Brabant¬¬¬¬¬-a region in the south of the Netherlands, a predominantly Catholic area. He was the oldest child of Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch reformed church, and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. As a child, Vincent was serious, silent and thoughtful. He attended the Zundert Village School from 1860, where the single Catholic teacher taught around 200 pupils. From 1861, he and his sister Anna were taught at home by a governess(a private teacher), until 1 of October, 1864, when he went to Jan Provily’s Boarding School at Zevenbergen about 20 miles(32km.) away. He was distressed to leave his family home as he recalled later as an adult. On 15 of September 1866, he went to the new middle school, Willem II College in Tillburg. Constantijn Huysmans, a successful artist in Paris, taught van Gogh to draw at the school and advocate a systematic approach to the subject. Vincent’s interest in art began at an early age. He began to draw as a child and continued making drawings throughout the years leading to his decision to become an artist. Though well-done and expressive, his early drawings do not approach the intensity he develop in his later work. In March 1868, van Gogh abruptly left school and returned home. At the age of 16, van Gogh went to work for Goupil and Company in The Hague, an art gallery with which one of his uncles had long been associated. After his training, in June 1873, Goupil transferred him to London, where ho lodge at 87 Hackford Road, Brixton, and worked at Messrs. Goupil ang Co., 17 Southampton Street. This was a happy time for Vincent; he was successful at work and was, at 20, earning more than his father. The wife of Theo(van Gogh’s brother) remarked that this was a happiest year of Vincent’s life. He fell in love with his landlady’s daughter, Eugenie Loyer, but when he finally confessed his feelings to her, she rejected him, saying that she was secretly engaged to a former lodger. He became increasingly isolated, and prevent about religion; his father and uncle arranged for him to be transferred to Paris, where he become resentful at how art was treated as a commodity, a fact apparent to customers. On 1 of April 1876, Goupil terminated his employment.
III. His Religious Life
Van Gogh disliked art dealing, and, rejected in love, he became increasingly solitary. His religious zeal grew until he felt he had found his true vocation. To support his effort to become a pastor, his family sent him to Amsterdam to study theology in May 1877, where he stayed with his uncle Johannes Stricker; a respected theologian who published the first “Life of Jesus” in the Netherlands. Van Gogh failed the exam, and left his uncle Jan’s house in July 1878. He then undertook, bu failed, a three-month course at the Vlaamsche Opleidings School, a protestant missionary school in Laeken, near Brussels.
In January 1879, he took a temporary post as a missionary in the village of Petit Wasmes, in the coal-mining district of Borinage in Belgium. Taking Christianity to what he saw as its logical conclusion, van Gogh lived like those he preached to, sleeping on straw in a small hut at the back of the baker’s house where he was staying. The baker’s wife reported hearing van Gogh sobbing at night in the nut. His choice of squalid living conditions did not endear him to the appalled church authorities, who dismissed him for “undermining the dignity of the priesthood.” He then walked to Brussels, returned briefly to the village of Cuesmes in the Borinage, but gave in to pressure from his parents to return home to Etten. He stayed there until around March the following year, a cause of increasing concern and frustration for his parents. There was particular conflict between Vincent and his father; Theodorus made inquiries about having his son committed to the lunatic asylum at...
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