Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Gabriela. Gabriela Wonders, “Who is Vincent Van Gogh?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Gabriela!

What career do you want one day? Would you like to be a chef? How about a poet? Some people dream of being entrepreneurs. For many, choosing a career is as easy as finding their interests or talents. Others believe a career is a calling.

A calling is a strong urge toward a certain way of life. For example, some nurses feel they have a calling to help people. Many religious leaders see their careers as callings. Often, writers and artists believe they have a calling to create.

Vincent van Gogh believed art was his calling. Born in the Netherlands in 1853, van Gogh wouldn’t become an artist until the age of 27. Before then, he worked as an art dealer and a teacher. Van Gogh even became a preacher for a short time. Van Gogh finally started drawing in 1880.

What’s the most beautiful painting you’ve ever seen? Was it of a famous person? A well-known building? A pretty location? Much artwork focuses on glamorous subjects. As an artist, van Gogh sought to paint daily life. He painted many poor people. He also focused on the countryside. Van Gogh made many self-portraits as well.

Van Gogh  is one of the best-known painters of Post-Impressionism. This was an art movement characterized by pure colors and short brushstrokes. Post-Impressionism helped shape future art movements. Van Gogh worked with many other Post-Impressionists, including Paul Gauguin and Georges Seurat.

Van Gogh often lived a hard life. He lived with an undiagnosed mental illness. Experts today believe it may have been schizophrenia or manic depression. Whatever the case, it hurt his ability to build relationships. After living and working for some time with the artist Paul Gauguin, van Gogh had a mental breakdown. It was at this time that many believe van Gogh cut off his own ear.

Van Gogh’s work did not make him wealthy during his lifetime. He produced over 1,100 drawings and 900 paintings. Only one of them sold while he was still alive. However, he saw art as his calling, and he continued to paint and draw. For much of his life, van Gogh lived near his brother, Theo. The two were close, and Theo often supported van Gogh financially. Theo was also an art dealer and believed in his brother’s work.

Eventually, van Gogh’s hard work paid off. Post-Impressionism grew. As it did, people saw value in his drawings and paintings. Today, van Gogh’s paintings are some of the most well-known in the world. Some of his most popular works include “The Starry Night," “The Bedroom," and “Irises." Many of his self-portraits are also well-known. One of the most popular is “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.”

After his death, van Gogh became known as one of the world’s greatest artists. Today, his work sells for millions. His story goes to show that money and fame aren‘t the only signs of success

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, C3.D2.His.3, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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