Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands on March 30, 1853. He was the son of Anna Cornelia Carbentus and Theodorus van Gogh, a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church. Through childhood, Vincent attended school until the age of fifteen, when he left his studies and never returned. Vincent and his younger brother Theo, formed a close relationship at a young age. The brothers wrote to each other constantly, and through the letters that Vincent wrote to Theo, one can begin to understand the feelings and emotions that he felt during his rough life (Preble 117). Van Gogh lived an extremely unstable mental and physical life, yet he still began a new painting style called expressionism, and made himself into one of the best artists of all time.
Vincent went through several jobs in different cities. While in England, he grew very fond of the realistic peasant life paintings by Jean-Francois Millet and Jules Brenton. One of van Gogh's worst experiences occurred when he professed his love to a woman names Eugenia, and being completely rejected. Soon after this, Vincent lost his job at an art firm and decided to move to Belgium and work for a mining company as a lay preacher. He experienced some very rough conditions in the mines, but was able to draw many etchings of the things he saw. Eventually, van Gogh ended up in Arles, France where he rented the now famous "Yellow House". This was a time of great productivity and success for Vincent until he had a psychotic breakdown and tried to attack his colleague, Paul Guaguin with a razor. After the unsuccessful attack, Vincent cut off a large piece of his left ear and gave it to a prostitute at a local brothel. After hearing this news, Theo decided to hospitalize his brother. Vincent quickly recovered and was released, but soon re-admitted himself to another hospital. While at this hospital, Vincent's paintings flourished and he was beginning to be recognized by other artists.