Vincent Van Gogh was born on in Zundert, Netherlands. His father, Theodorus Van Gogh, was a preacher married to a woman named Anna Carbentus and Vincent was their oldest son. In 1869, he accepted a position at a company called Goupil and Co., which was an art dealer. He worked for them until 1873, when he was dismissed while he was working at their office in London. He became a schoolmaster in England in 1876 for a short while before moving to Amsterdam to join a theology school.
Vincent was refused admission into the school in Amsterdam and moved to Brussels, where he received training for the ministry. He was unable to find a position as a minister and finally became an unofficial missionary at the Borinage Mine. He slept on the floor of the miners' lodge and gave away all of his possessions, but his obsession prompted the church to dismiss him.
He moved back to Brussels and he began to teach himself art with the help of his cousin, producing his first major work "Potato-Eaters" in 1885. He refined his drawing techniques and received a commission to paint twelve different views of the Hague.
He moved to Paris in 1886, where he lived with his brother Theo, who was an art dealer. There, he was introduced to famous artists and began taking art more seriously. In 1888, he moved to Arles, where he hoped to start a colony for artists. He worked constantly without speaking to anyone for days. His friend and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin, eventually moved there in October of 1888. Tensions gradually grew between the two men, eventually resulting in a psychotic episode, during which Vincent threatened Gauguin with a razor before cutting off his own ear.
In 1889, Van Gogh admitted himself to the St. Remy Asylum. While there, he continued painting in an increasingly agitated manner with quick brush strokes. After he was discharged, he admitted himself once again to the asylum in Saint-Remy. He believed his psychological breakdown was a result of alcohol and tobacco, but gave up neither of the substances. He converted a nearby cell into an art studio and produced 150 paintings there.
Vincent's artwork was reduced to drawing after he swallowed a lot of paint in an attempt to poison himself. He moved to Auvers in 1890 to be closer to his brother and remained under the care of Paul Gachet, a physician and amateur painter. On July 27, 1890, Vincent shot himself in the chest and stumbled back to his home, where he died two days later.
During his life he had only sold one painting, but today he is remembered as one of the most interesting and talented artists in history. His works are believed to represent his moods and mental state.