Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 in Zundert in the south of Netherlands. He was unlucky to live only for 37 years and to discover his passion for art at the age of 27. Therefore, he worked as an artist for only 10 years of his life. This article investigates why his artistic works were neglected and underestimated although he lived in the Enlightenment Age, which means that he lived in the age when the art movement was at its apex.
During the Enlightenment Age, emphasis on literature, philosophy, science, fine arts and music became more widespread, especially with the growing middle class. This means that Vincent van Gogh had lived in a revived and flourishing artistic movement, which was supposed to help him flourish as an artist and become rich. On the contrary, he did not avail himself of the Enlightenment Age and gain a reputation as an artist. Although Vincent painted 900 paintings and more than 1,100 drawings, his works remained unknown and unsold and his brother Theo supported him financially during his lifetime.
Perhaps one of the reasons for his failure to assert himself as a well-reputed artist is his clumsy behaviour when he underwent psychotic episodes and delusions. Another reason which added insult to injury is his short-tempered nature and rudeness which most of the times brought him bloody confrontations most prominently his fight with his fellow Gauguin that ended up with cutting off Vincent’s’ earlobe. Moreover, he was always dirty and not well-dressed, which made people avoid dealing with him and or buying his artistic works. Furthermore, the deterioration of his health and financial status delivered more pangs to his life and caused an early death to such a great artist like Vincent but now in our age, his magnificent painting (Portrait of Dr Gachet) is sold around 150 million dollars in auctions.
What we learn from Vincent’s experience is that the seed that is planted in darkness may blossom later in the light. This means that if you work on something maybe you will not see its fruits or its fruits may be predestined to the next generations. What is more important as a moral lesson is that we should not judge talented people by their outward show but by their abilities, talents and essence.