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Vincent van Gogh: Letters to Theo, circling crows and the romance of unrealised promise | The Independent

Born 165 years ago today, the troubled artist continues to captivate gallery-goers around the world

Today marks the 165th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), one of the world’s most popular and distinctive painters.

The Dutchman’s style is instantly recognisable and his most famous works Sunflowers (1887), Cafe Terrace at Night (1888) and The Starry Night (1889) are among the most revered in the world, attracting crowds to galleries for more than 100 years and appealing as readily to connoisseurs as they do to the merely curious.

Van Gogh himself lived a turbulent and itinerant life, roaming the Low Countries and the meadows of southern France with an easel strapped to his back and that ever-present pipe clamped between his peeling, sunburnt lips and loose teeth, a red-headed stranger on a mission to document the manmade hardships and God-given splendour of rural existence.

Taking inspiration from Jean-François Millet and the novels of Emile Zola, his first works capture the toil, dejection and consolations of the miners, weavers, reapers, tillers, peat-cutters, labourers and farmhands he encountered.

They reveal a huge compassion for their subjects, the period exemplified by the ruddy vitality of The Potato Eaters (1885) dining together by lamplight.

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Sorgente: Vincent van Gogh: Letters to Theo, circling crows and the romance of unrealised promise | The Independent

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