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If anyone asks you to name a few famous artists of the past, the names that might come to your mind include Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and, of course, Vincent Van Gogh. He is probably one of the painters that had the most interesting life and, although he managed to sell a single composition when he was alive, he became extremely popular after his death.

But, although you know some popular facts like that he cut off his own ear at one point in life, there are some other fun facts that you might not be aware of. If you are interested in learning more about the life Vincent Van Gogh had, this article might be helpful. Let’s take a closer look at the fun facts:

1. The Name “Vincent” Appears Often in His Family Tree

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If you take a look at this painter’s family tree, you might conclude that he was not the only Vincent. He was given this name after his stillborn brother, who got his name from their grandfather. His living sibling Theo decided to name his child Vincent as well. Hence, throughout history, there were actually four Vincent Van Goghs – which makes you wonder why was the name so important to them?

2. He Took On Art When He Was 27!

Most individuals start drawing or painting from a very early age, however, Vincent started drawing relatively late in life – when he was 27 and to make things even more interesting, he taught himself how to draw. But, if you take a look at his early work, it is not as vibrant as his paintings that we all know.

Instead of a colorful palette, he decided to use dark and dull colors at the beginning of his career. He often portrayed the harsh reality people lived in, reflecting on common problems such as poverty, hardships, and war. He did not start using vibrant colors until several years later.

3. There Are a Lot of Letters Representing His Life

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Besides drawing more than 900 works of art that we know of, Gogh also composed over 750 letters to his sibling Theo, as well as his colleagues Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin with whom he was really close with. Of course, he did not date most of the notes he wrote, however, experts did manage to sort them out in a chronological way.

Vincent was a relatively private man, meaning that there are no information sources out there. However, the letters he wrote are a representation of his thoughts and life, especially since he wrote about his life in them. His brother got over six hundred letters from Vincent and they both decided to keep all the notes they received. After they both died, the widow of his brother collected all of them and published them back in 1914.

4. “Starry Night” Was Painted in a Mental Hospital

In 1889, Vincent willingly admitted himself to a mental hospital. During the next year, Vincent painted a lot of iconic pieces from his hospital room – or cell since he was at an asylum. However, one of his well-known paintings, as well as one that you have definitely heard of “Starry Night” was created there. The painting represents what he saw outside his cell window. If you are interested in finding out more information about “The Starry Night”, you can learn more here.

5. Being A Painter Was Not The First Job Choice

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Vincent was only working in the art field for the last ten years of his life, however, before finding his true calling, he actually tried several other careers. Amongst the various fields that he worked in, some of the most interesting things he tried doing include working as an art dealer, preacher, as well as a teacher.

Of course, he was not really successful in any of these fields, hence, he decided to become a painter. In 1880, he introduced himself as an artist to his brother in a letter. He then decided to visit some European countries including France and Holland in order to pursue his artistic style.

6. He Created Over 2.000 Pieces of Art

As previously mentioned, Van Gogh had a short career as an artist, but, amazingly, he managed to create over 2.000 artworks, including over 850 oil paintings. When you think about the fact that he created most of these paintings during the last 2 years of his life, it is quite obvious that he was a very busy man.

Despite all of the problems that he had – including financial problems and mental illnesses – he was able to create art that was better, greater, and more valuable that most painters ever completed in their lives – lives that were longer than Vincent’s since he only lived until the age of 37.

7. He Used Himself as a Model For His Work

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Since Gogh was unknown and poor, he did really have the necessary funds for paying models, hence, he figured out that he can use himself as the model for his own work. Besides saving money on not hiring models, he also often pained over his older artwork in order to save money on buying new canvas. Just imagine how many works of art are buried under tons of paint?

8. He Really Did Chop Off His Left Ear

One of the things that all people know about this peculiar man is that he did, indeed, cut off his own left ear. However, a lot of people are still wondering why did he do it. Well, to put it simply, it is not known why he did what he did, however, a wide range of professionals believe that it happened after an argument with his dear friend Gauguin. Some experts also believe that it was not Gogh who did this, but his friends.


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As you can see, Vincent Van Gogh was an incredible man and artist, one that managed to leave such a big impact on the world despite his hardships and problems. So, now that you know some fun facts about this well-known painter, do not lose any more time and start browsing catalogs in order to see some of his most amazing work.