July 28, 1890: Vincent Van Gogh dies from a gunshot wound

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95430 Auvers-sur-Oise
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1889 – Ill, his mental health deteriorating, post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh commits himself to an hospital in the South of France.
He continues to paint, relapsing at rare occasions.

1890 – Van Gogh decides to leave the hospital to the northern village of Auvers-sur-Oise, in order to be closer to both his physician and his brother Theo, art dealer.
Residing in the attic of the Auberge Ravoux, he paints some portraits of his doctor and the neighborhood, still experimenting and developing new painting techniques.
In February 1890, he experiences a severe crisis, bringing him at his lowest, unable to paint nor write. He recovers two months after but the relapse won’t last.

On Sunday, July 27, 1890, he ventures in the wheat fields he used to paint and shoots himself in the chest with a revolver. Far from ending his life, the bullet is stopped by his spine. In agony, he goes back to the auberge where he is attended by physicians.

The next day, his brother Theo arrives at his brother’s bedside. Seemingly recovering, Vincent suddenly fails and dies thirty hours after the gunshot to an infection in the wound.

As he was about to die, he said to his brother:
“The sadness will last forever.”


Adapting the eponymous Irwing Stone novel in 1956, Lust for Life depicts the trials of Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) from his failed theology studies to his various careers, struggles to live off his paintings, and his eventual suicide.

movie_icon&16In 1990, Robert Altman directed ‘Vincent & Theo’, starring Tim Roth as Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Rhys as his brother Theo, art dealer. The movie, focusing on the relationship between the two brothers, was written by Julian Mitchell, who penned a biopic of Oscar Wilde seven years later.

movie_icon&16Benedict Cumberbatch played Vincent in BBC’s Van Gogh: Painted With Words, an engaging docu-drama which borrowed every piece of its dialogues from Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo.

movie_icon&16Screenwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Bridget Jones) penned ‘Vincent and the Doctor’, an episode in the fifth season of the sci-fi show Doctor Who. Despite showing Van Gogh at odds with some kind of monster, the episode is nevertheless truthful to Van Gogh’s condition.

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© LibrAdventures, Fabien Hurelle

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Posted: August 14, 2014

Author: Fabien Hurelle

Category: Painters

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