Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Eyewitness: Van Gogh

Eyewitness: Van Gogh

Bruce Bernard
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 1o and up
Dorling Kindersley, 2000   ISBN: 978-0789448781

Born in the Netherlands Vincent Van Gogh came from a close knit and loving family. As he grew older though, tension began to grow between himself and his parents due to religious differences and his parent?s inability to understand their son and his actions. Vincent found a job in an art dealers gallery first in The Hague and then in London. Vincent then became a schoolteacher and pursued his religious studies with fervour but he seemed to have great difficulty finding his place in the world. After England he went back to live in a mining community in Boringe, Belgium, and to work as a lay preacher. It was here that he first began to draw regularly. After losing his job as a preacher Vincent went back to his homeland and he began to work on his artistic skills in earnest.

Van Gogh travelled a great deal around his own country and then into France looking for new scenes to draw and paint and also looking for inspiration and people who would teach him. He met a group of painters who would come to be called The Impressionists and was so impressed by their painting that it would influence his own work enormously.

The writer of this intense study of Vincent Van Gogh and his work not only tells us Van Gogh's often tragic life story. He also describes how Van Gogh's art developed and changed. Beautiful reproductions of Van Gogh's art are accompanied by notes which discuss the work, its merits and also its faults. We also see photographs of memorabilia from Van Gogh's life: his bible, his box of wools, his palette, his books and notebooks.

Included in the back of the book are some "Key Biographical Dates," a glossary, a list of museums that exhibit the paintings pictured in the book, and a world map showing where the major collections of Van Gogh's work can be found.