Without doubt the most known and celebrated artist ever, Vincent van Gogh is inevitably the one who has seen a lot in terms of tributes — as the 2017 first fully painted feature film, Loving Vincent —, remakes and parodies too. And the fact of having gone through several dramas during his tormented existence, coming to extreme acts such as cutting an ear or shooting himself, certainly didn’t help in this sense. But it is probably because of all this that today he is one of the most beloved and late artists of all time, and sometimes, thinking that he seems to have sold only a painting in his entire life, also gives us a deeper feeling of anger towards the art world.
Born on 30 March 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands, Vincent drew as a child and was serious, quiet and thoughtful. As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion, and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the two kept up a long correspondence by letter. And that’s who Vincent wrote in July 1890 before killing himself, describing “vast fields of wheat under turbulent skies,” representing “sadness and extreme loneliness.”
In 2015, struggling actor Robert Reynolds suddenly being flooded with scripts after a passenger on New York’s subway posted a picture of him on Reddit. Robert later became a star of the web series The van Gogh Show. In 2016, Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland crowd-sourced the planet looking for Vincent van Gogh’s closest lookalike to offer him $5,689, a trip to Vancouver and a bronze sculpture. The search has happened through the I Am Vincent website, the winner was Daniel Baker from Christchurch, England.
Despite being a rather sad story to joke about, many artists and creative minds have become so fond of the character Van Gogh that joking is now nothing more than one of the many ways to celebrate him. This doesn’t mean lack of sensitivity, as you may know.