This 32-page Vincent van Gogh Picture Study Aid (available in PDF or printed format) includes a brief summary of the childhood of Dutch, post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), a synopsis of seven of his works, printable or professinally-printed versions of the pieces covered, and a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages.
Due to the nature of Vincent’s adult life, specifically his depression and patronage of brothels, I recommend pre-reading any books not meant for children before offering them to your students.
The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
By Vincent van Gogh
A plethora of books exists in which the often misunderstood Vincent van Gogh and his art is discussed, however, to get to know the man himself, I can’t recommend his letters enough. Over 500 letters from Vincent to various people, mainly his brother, were published in various forms after his death. These letters offer a glimpse into the mind of a man who is often summarily dismissed as a “troubled artist,” but who had so much more depth than this simple categorization can impart.
Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh
By Vincent van Gogh & Irving Stone
This is a more succinct and affordable option to the volumes above. Irving Stone “curated” Vincent’s letters to create a sort of autobiography.
Lust for Life
By Irving Stone
“Since its initial publication in 1934, Irving Stone’s Lust for Life has been a critical success, a multimillion-copy bestseller, and the basis for an Academy Award-winning movie. The most famous of all of Stone’s novels, it is the story of Vincent Van Gogh–brilliant painter, passionate lover, and alleged madman. Here is his tempestuous story: his dramatic life, his fevered loves for both the highest-born women and the lowest prostitutes, and his paintings–for which he was damned before being proclaimed a genius. The novel takes us from his desperate days in a coal mine in southern Belgium to his dazzling years in the south of France, where he knew the most brilliant artists. Finally, it shows us Van Gogh driven mad, tragic, and triumphant at once. No other novel of a great man’s life has so fascinated the American public for generations.”
Vincent van Gogh (Art for Children)
By Ernest Roboff
I really enjoy this series of art books from Ernest Roboff. They are beautifully laid out and illustrated and give unique glimpses at the artsts they cover. They are no longer in print, but you can sometimes find them used on eBay or Amazon. Ages 9-12.
A Weekend with van Gogh
By Rosabianca S. Venturi
“The nineteenth-century Dutch artist discusses his life and work in a letter to his nephew.” Ages 9-12 (Please note that this book does include a brief reference to the incident of van Gogh cutting off his ear and mentions that he “ended his own life.”)
Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky
By Barb Rosenstock
“Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime–but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time… From the same team behind the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box, Vincent Can’t Sleep is a stunning book that offers insight into the true meaning of creativity and commitment.” Ages 4-8.
The Yellow House: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side
By Susan Goldman Rubin
“A thought-provoking story about how artists generate and share ideas revisits the fall of 1888 when Vincent van Gogh invited Paul Gauguin to come live and work with him in his yellow house in the south of France.” Ages 5-9. (Please note that this book does include a brief reference to the incident of Van Gogh cutting off his ear.)
Katie and the Starry Night
By Lee Wildish
“Join Katie as she steps into some of the most famous paintings in the world for an exciting art adventure! The stars in Vincent van Gogh’s painting are so beautiful that Katie can’t resist reaching in and taking one. But what will she do when all the other stars come tumbling out of the painting, too? Will Katie be able to catch the stars before the gallery guard notices they’ve floated away?” Ages 3-6.
Camille and the Sunflowers
By Laurence Anholt
“Despite the derision of their neighbors, a young French boy and his family befriend the lonely painter who comes to their town and begin to admire his unusual paintings.” Ages 2-6+. (Please note that this book does include a drawing of Van Gogh with a bandage on his ear. The text does not discuss this incident.)
By Vincent van Gogh & The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Throughout his life, he wrote to his younger brother, Theo, about his colorful, dynamic paintings. This book pairs the artist’s paintings with his own words… Van Gogh’s descriptions, arranged as a simple rhyme, introduce young readers to all the colors of the rainbowand beyond. The descriptive words combine with spectacular reproductions of many of the artist’s most beloved and important works to create a perfect art book for young and old alike.” Ages 0+.
Discovering Great Artists
By Maryann F. Kohl
“‘Discovering Great Artists’ has 75 great artists featured in 110 amazingly fun and unique quality art appreciation activities for children. They will experience the styles and techniques of the great masters, from the Renaissance to the Present. A brief biography of each artist is included with a fully illustrated, child-tested art activity, featuring painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, architecture, and more. Includes such greats as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, Matisse, Pollock, and O’Keeffe. 1998 Benjamin Franklin Silver Award, 2002 Practical Homeschooling Reader Award. Full ‘click-to’ resource guide at Bright Ring’s website to show each artist’s most famous works.” Ages 3-12. (Includes two Vincent van Gogh projects.)