Van gogh painting dating may 1889
Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet and thoughtful.
As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London.
Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily.
His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor, when in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear.
His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his painting style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists.
His suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty.
His philosophy was to reject technique in favour of capturing the impressions of things, particularly nature or common objects.
Van Gogh's profound unhappiness seems to have overshadowed the lessons, which had little effect; This was a happy time for Van Gogh; he was successful at work, and at 20 was earning more than his father.
His depression continued and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, and was considered a madman and a failure.
He became famous after his suicide, and exists in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist "where discourses on madness and creativity converge".
Problems in transcription and dating remain, mainly with those posted from Arles.