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The Religious Affiliation of Celebrated Dutch Painter
Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous and celebrated painters in modern history.

Vincent van Gogh was a devout Christian. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, and served briefly as a full-time clergyman. But for the most part Vincent van Gogh was not particularly denominational-minded. He had a strong love for all Christian churches.

From: Hans Bronkhorst, Vincent Van Gogh, Portland House: New York (1990), pages 6-7:

1853: Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born in Zundert in the Netherlands on 30 March, the eldest of six children of a Protestant pastor.

1876: In the spring, Vincent took a teaching post in Ramsgate, England. He then became a teacher and assistnt pastor in Isleworth...

1878: At the end of August he enrolled at the Evangelical College in Brussels...

1878: In November he was appointed to the post of assistant pastor in Wasnes in the Belgian Borinage, but was dismissed after some six months for being over-zealous. He then settled in Cuesmes, again in the Boringe, as an evangelist. It was here that he started to draw...

1880: He moved to Brussels and decided to ecome an artist. He applied himself to drawing and became friendly with Count Anthon van Rappard, a proficient artist five years younger than himself...

1881: In April he moved to Etten, where he lived at his parents' parsonage, and developed his talent for drawing. He fell in love with his cousin, Kee Vos-Stricker, who had recently been widowed. She rejected him with the words: 'Never, no, never.' In December Vincent had a serious argument with his father and decided to leave...

From: Raymond Cogniat (translated from the French by Eileen B. Hennessy), Bracque, Crown Publishers, Inc: New York City (1970), page 8:
The entire art of the nineteenth century is marked by the accession of the middle class to positions of control and political, social, and economic management, that is, the acquisition of power by the class which possessed the material and financial means. To the same extent as Impressionism, Romanticism exists as a function of this class, although the latter often began by refusing that which was destined for it. Almost all of the most original artists, those whose strong personalities scandalized people because they destroyed routinism, belonged to this middle class -- modest in the case of Corot, powerful in the case of Manat, always prosperous, a class that regarded art ias a superfluity, not as a goal, and especially not as a reason for or a means of living.

To be sure, there were a few exceptions, such as Daumier and Renoir. They can be considered precursors, heralds of a democritization that was to begin at the end of the century and of which the pathetic battle of Van Gogh is the shining example: the artist of humble origin, possessed by a faith, desperately pursing the discovery of himself by his own means, and involuntary rebel by his very nature, and one who is obliged to discover his path alone, the honest craftsman who with goodwill learns the formulas of his trade without having to reinvent everything if he wishes to fulfill himself.

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Webpage created 3 December 2005. Last modified 5 December 2005.
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