Great exhibition at the RA on Van Gogh (only on until the 18th April) and the letters he had written to his brother Theo. The exhibition was very very crowded, and it wasn't easy to read any of the translations of the letters, but his paintings are wonderful. He was extremely passionate about his work as a painter, and always seemed to be learning about his art. He was greatly influenced by Japanese art.
It is so sad that he didn't manage to sell much of his work during his lifetime, but his life and works today still attract millions of people. It seems he may have suffered from epilepsy, and at that time it wasn't known how to treat this condition, and he became increasingly mentally unstable. He was constantly subsidised by his brother, Theo, during his lifetime, and seemed to feel this as a great weight. He was 37 when he died.
Some of Vincent's words:
"To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one's fling from time to time, smoke one's pipe, and drink one's coffee in peace."
"There is no blue without yellow and without orange."
"It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to.... The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures."