Segments in this Video

Van Gogh's World (01:20)


When individuals reflect on Vincent Van Gogh, they do not remember his paintings, but his insanity. He wrote 902 letters, most to his brother, Theo. This film will use excerpts from the letters he wrote and received to create a portrait of the artist's life. (Credits)

December 23rd, 1888 (02:20)

Van Gogh cut off his ear and gave it to a prostitute in a brothel— police committed him to an asylum in Arles. Listen to letters the artist and his brother wrote about the event. Their father was a Calvinist minister and the boys were raised in Zundert, Netherlands.

Apprenticed with Goupil and Cie (02:54)

Listen to the first letters that Van Gogh and Theo sent each other after they both obtained positions. After Goupil relocated Van Gogh to London, he started collecting the black and white prints from the newspaper. When Van Gogh began neglecting his work, Goupil fired him.

Van Gogh Starts Teaching (02:34)

Van Gogh volunteered to teach Sunday school and delivered his first sermon on November 12, 1876. His father agreed to financially support him entering the ministry, but Van Gogh quit after a year. The church sent him to do missionary work in Borinage, but after a six-month trial, he failed again.

Theo Recognizes Van Gogh's Talent (03:16)

Van Gogh taught himself how to draw and paint, studying the paintings of artists such as Jean-François Millet. He returned home and fell in love with his widowed cousin, Kee Vos. The family forbade him from seeing her, but he refused to stop pursuing her.

Living in The Hague (03:52)

After an argument, his father recommended Van Gogh leave home. That winter, he began to draw portraits of Clasina Maria Hoornik, an older woman who worked as a seamstress— Sien modeled for "Sorrow." She returned to prostitution after her child was born because Van Gogh's family withdrew financial support.

Moved to Rural Holland (02:36)

Van Gogh grew lonely, returned home to his family in Nuenen, who agreed he could stay in the outhouse. The artist began drawing images of local weavers, influenced by paintings from Anton Mauve and Jozef Israëls.

Incorporating Colors (02:39)

Theo writes to Van Gogh about Impressionism, but the artist seems disinterested. Watching the looms, Van Gogh realized that by placing contradictory colors next to each other in small amounts, the colors blend harmoniously. Anthon van Rappard criticizes "The Potato Eaters."

Death of Van Gogh's Father (03:21)

Van Gogh painted his father's Bible as a tribute. The artist traveled to Paris in 1886 and moved in with his brother in Montmartre. Deciding to set a goal of painting a good portrait, Van Gogh studied Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's artwork.

Self- Portrait Series (02:09)

Van Gogh painted "Self-Portrait with Dark Felt Hat at the Easel," "Self-Portrait with Pipe," and "Self-Portrait," gradually incorporating color into his work. He began to receive invitations to visit other artists' studios, befriended Paul Gauguin, and started copying Japanese prints.

Paris Indulgences (02:36)

Van Gogh started drinking absinthe and his relationship with Theo suffered. In February 1888, the artist departed Paris for Arles and continued experimenting with color.

Working in Arles (02:51)

Van Gogh spends time alone, writes to Gauguin inviting him to work with him, and paints the bedroom and sunflower series. After arriving in Arles, Gauguin and Van Gogh paint the same subject— Gauguin's version is romantic while Van Gogh incorporates the industrial city surrounding the cemetery.

Working From Memory (02:42)

Van Gogh painted "The Sower" and soon returned to painting objects he saw. Gauguin grew frustrated with the collaboration and an argument ensued. Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor.

Ear Mutilation (04:20)

From the hospital, Van Gogh painted his self-portrait and became an avid reader of Shakespearean tragedies. When he was discharged, Theo helped him enter an asylum in Saint-Remy. The doctor diagnosed Van Gogh with epilepsy.

Van Gogh's Art (04:07)

Theo compliments Van Gogh's latest color studies. The artist asks his brother to move him to a different asylum. Dr. Peyron describes Van Gogh's night terrors, paranoia, and suicide attempts by eating paint or drinking paraffin.

Moved to Auvers (03:43)

Van Gogh befriends Dr. Paul Gachet and paints his portrait. In his final landscapes, he attempts to depict sadness and loneliness. Listen to his final letter to his brother.

Suicide (02:10)

Van Gogh shot himself in the chest and died two days later in his room with his brother at his side. Theo perished six months later from syphilis. They are buried in Auvers next to each other.

Credits: Van Gogh: Painted with Words (00:31)

Credits: Van Gogh: Painted with Words

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Van Gogh: Painted with Words

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Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Vincent Van Gogh to perfection in this powerful and critically acclaimed docudrama. Based on years of painstaking research, with every single word of dialogue sourced from his original writings, this is the artist's story, in his own words. For 18 years from 1872, Van Gogh chronicled his eventful life through some 900 letters to his younger brother Theo. The correspondence documents in vivid detail his travels and various occupations in the Netherlands, Belgium, England and France; his obsessive religious zeal; his artistic calling; the evolution of his skills; the way he used art and literature to discover and define himself; and the periods of mental instability and depression that plagued him during the years preceding his suicide. Now, this film weaves together the painter's recorded experiences into a compelling story. What emerges is a complex portrait of a sophisticated, civilized and yet tormented man.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL125015

ISBN: 978-1-64023-043-9

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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