Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, which included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.
Vincent Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England. In 1885, he painted his first major work The Potato Eaters with a color palette of somber tones. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. In the south of France he was influenced by the strong light and his work became brighter in vivid color. He developed his highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888.
The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Vincent van Gogh died aged 37 from a gunshot wound.