Fun Facts about Vincent van Gogh

Noted Los Angeles abstract artist Diana Hobson joined the celebrations acknowledgement of the 162nd birthday of Vincent van Gogh. He was a man whose life is shrouded in mystery as it is widely renowned. The iconic post-Impressionist melancholic spirit and ecstatic paintings forever painted our notion of the “tortured artist.”

Today, we’re investigating some of the discoveries and theories that continue to make van Gogh one of the most talented and fascinating artists of all time.

"Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh

“Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh’s work may have accurately provided one of the most complex scientific principles in history.

Turbulence, is a wildly complex theory that still has many scientists baffled. The 20th century German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg said,”When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.”  Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” was able to capture and visualize turbulence theory by displaying its swirling patterns.  To this day some believe that at times of turmoil, such as van Gogh’s stay in the mental asylum, he was able to mysteriously tap into the artistic side of scientific theory.

Did you know he may have hidden “The Last Supper” in one of his paintings?

When you first observe van Gogh’s “Cafe Terrace at Night” on the surface it appears to display a group of patrons socializing at a cafe. However, researcher Jared Baxter suggests the moonlit scene may be so much more. He theorizes that when further observed it may actually hold religious symbolism. It is an elusive nod to Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Crosses distributed throughout the work reveals the true complexity of his work.

Ultimately, on first impression this can be mistakenly overlooked.

History suggests he may have been colorblind.

Was van Gogh color blind? He may have suffered from protanopia. Protanopia is a certain type of color blindness which would interfere with his perception of reddish tones. Japanese vision expert Kazunori Asad suggests color blindness may explain Vincent’s cool-heavy color palette and style.

Asad was able to develop an app titled, “Chromatic Vision Simulator,” which is able to simulate the experience of several types of color blindness. “To me the incongruity of color and roughness of line had quietly disappeared,” Asad documented in his blog. “And each picture had changed into one of brilliance with very delicate lines and shades. This was a truly wonderful experience.”

He may not be as manic as the legends suggest.

Although his reputation depicts him as a spontaneous creative, many historians believe van Gogh was more of an analytic and traditional than he’s often thought to be. For example, his iconic “Bedroom” is known now for the contrast between the blue walls and yellow floors, yielding a dark effect. However, researchers discovered the blue paint was originally more of a violet. Violet is both a traditional foil to yellow and a calmer hue in general.

He may not have chopped off his own ear.

It’s difficult for some to picture a world in which van Gogh didn’t cut off his own ear and deliver it to a woman named Rachel. Vincent van Gogh may have made the whole thing up to cover for his friend. Hamburg-based historians Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans, poses evidence and insist that the real culprit was his friend Paul Gauguin. During an argument Gauguin could have chopped it off (Gauguin enjoyed fencing.). Ultimately, it is possible that van Gogh made up the whole story of cutting off his own ear to cover for his friend. Letters written from Gogh to Gaugin serve as evidence to back this claim and read, “I will keep quiet about this and so will you.”


“The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, 1889. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.


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