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Vincent Van Gogh: A Life

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Published on the hundredth anniversary of Van Gogh's death, this is the first full-length biography of this undying man in twenty years and surely the most comprehensive account to date. Mr. Callow treats more searchingly than any previous work the development of Van Gogh's genius and his emergence as an artist after early struggles to find a vocation, first in the world o ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Ivan R. Dee Publisher (first published 1990)
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Florence Millo
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I could weep for his unhappiness. What a genius but how tormented. I wish the book had a little less artistic interpretation though. This is the first biography of Van Gogh so I don't have anything to compare it with. I would think there are better biographies of him out there though. ...more
Peter Hoopman
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book that made the man and the artist palpable, the struggle of being you, seeming different then the rest. Almost no-one seems to understand you and knowing that you not really understand yourself, that you somehow accepted to go to unknown territory and still living in the same world with all its cultural references conscious and unconscious. I enjoyed this book !!!

Philip Callow permits himself quite some psychological interpretation but in general it is well done, subjectively sa
Cat Rayne
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
At times reading like a dry history textbook then veering into colorful descriptive prose, Callow’s bio seemed schizophrenic.

Along with the authors interpretive points were the well known parts of Van Gogh’s timeline in life. Callow spends the majority of the book in the early life then hastily writes of the final years when the artist was most prolific and prone to madness.

From prior bios we know Vincent was a voracious reader. This book identifies specific tomes he loved, like Uncle Toms Cab
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Informative, enlightening, but had extensive interpretation overlaying facts. Author presented very bleak imagery which contributed to making this a drudge to read. I gave this to a college student fan of Van Gogh and made her promise to limit her reading of this and then spend time with cheerful friends. I would have liked to have seen images of the drawings and paintings to which he referred within the context of his history.
Julie McKnight
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
While informative, the tone of the writing was more influenced by the author's interpretation of van Gogh's life and work rather than offering an objective account of historical information regarding the man himself. While I was able to glean the timeline of major life events in van Gogh's life, it seemed this composed only about a third of the book. ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art-history
I am very disappointed in this book. I wish there were more Vincent biographies. I was hoping for a straightforward, informational biography of Vincent, but this one... I couldn't even finish. And I always finish everything. Although, after skipping around, I was able to find interesting facts about Van Gogh which I didn't know before. I can't say this book is all bad. ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful biography of Van Gogh. Finally I understand his paintings and his pain. A very easy read... I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Van Gogh, not only as a painter but also as a human being.
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British novelist, poet, and biographer.

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