5 Things That Made Van Gogh Famous

Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) is arguably the most famous painter. His incredible paintings are famous the world over and are instantly recognizable to the majority of people. Images of his paintings have been reproduced, repackaged, and repurposed more than any other artist in history.

Vincent Van Gogh cafes, Vincent Van Gogh museums, Vincent Van Gogh touring exhibitions and shows, and even Vincent Van Gogh memorabilia stores where you can buy all things Vincent Van Gogh. So, with all these spin-offs and merchandise out there, it begs the question, what makes Vincent Van Gogh so famous?

Is it simply his brilliantly unique paintings that have captured the hearts and imaginations of the people? Or is there more to it than just that? Let’s take a deeper look into the man, the myth, and the legend, and learn why the masses are so beloved of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork.

The Elements of Style

Practically all the great painters throughout history exhibited a distinct flavor and style that made them stand out from the rest, and Vincent Van Gogh was no exception. This uniqueness of style, however, didn’t do Van Gogh any favors during his lifetime. 

It is universal knowledge that Van Gogh was widely unsuccessful while alive and only sold a single painting during his professional career. In fact, his artwork began to receive critical acclaim and mainstream recognition only after his death. 

It may have been the case that Van Gogh was simply way ahead of his time, and it took people time to see the greatness that lay before their eyes. Whatever the case, Van Gogh’s fantastically vibrant and vivid paintings are celebrated worldwide, and his unique style is highly praised. This is made even more amazing by the fact that Van Gogh was self-thought.

Self-Thought Mastery

Yes, believe it or not, it’s true. Vincent Van Gogh was almost entirely self-thought. He received no formal training, and besides guidance from his fellow artist friends, Van Gogh relied on his own inherent artistic intuition to complete his masterpieces.

For centuries, art was regarded as a noble profession that only a few special individuals could excel in and only after many years of training. In the modern era, though, these silly notions were done away with, and the artist’s profession became available to anyone bold enough to pursue it.

It is perhaps precisely this lack of formal training that lent itself to Van Gogh’s brilliance. Not being shackled down by the conventional rules of art Van Gogh was free to express himself to the fullest. He is the perfect example of why you should always follow your imagination and intuition in favor of preconceived ideas.

A Unique Vision

There can be no denying that Van Gogh had a tremendous natural talent for painting and an incredible imagination to match. It has been said that artists see the world differently from regular people, which couldn’t be truer than in the case of Vincent Van Gogh.

His artistic vision was thoroughly spectacular, and through Vincent Van Gogh artwork, a world more vibrant than our own is brought to life. In Van Gogh’s paintings, the trees dance like flames, and the sky is more alive than anything in this world. The flowers, too, dance with life, and everything depicted seems like a dream.

The more you learn about the paintings of Van Gogh, the more you realize the quality of magic contained within our seemingly normal reality. However, Van Gogh’s unique vision came at a price, as he would suffer from a troubled mind that ultimately led to him taking his own life.

A Troubled Mind

Many historical examples have shown the correlation between genius and fragile mental health. There is a long list of renowned artists, musicians, actors, athletes, writers, scientists, and other famous historical figures who suffered from mental health problems.

Unfortunately for Vincent Van Gogh, he sits near the top of that list. It is well documented that the Dutch Impressionist painter suffered from many bouts of depression throughout his life, resulting in several stays in psychiatric asylums, the cutting off of his ear, and, ultimately, his suicide.

It would seem that, in many cases, the price for genius is a troubled mind. It can’t be said whether this is due to the confining parameters of behavior that society tolerates as normal or something more mysterious. Nevertheless, Van Gogh’s mind produced all of his brilliant paintings, but the same mind also plagued him up until his death.

They Say The Good Die Young

The circumstances surrounding his death must also be mentioned when talking about the fame associated with Vincent Van Gogh and his paintings. As mentioned above, Van Gogh suffered from depression throughout his life. Yet, this all too human quality endeared fans to Van Gogh on top of his incredible drawings.

Vincent Van Gogh – Olive Trees With Yellow Sky And Sun

People find themselves able to relate to Van Gogh’s problems and, as a result, have a greater affinity for his artwork. Furthermore, Van Gogh’s struggles make him appear more human in people’s eyes compared to other famous historical artists who are regarded as geniuses compared to average people.

As harsh as it might sound, Van Gogh’s early death also greatly added to his fame and the value of his paintings. As a result, his original paintings are highly sought after, are worth millions on the marketplace, and his artwork continues to be as popular as ever among fans.


Of all the images of Vincent Van Gogh, the image of the man himself might be the most famous of all. His lasting legacy and the fame of his artwork are a fitting tribute to one of the greatest painters who ever lived. 

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