One of The Netherlands' most famous artists, Vincent van Gogh, celebrates an anniversary this year.  It's been 125 since he died.  His paintings still inspire and draw thousands of visitors every year.  What is it that makes Vincent's paintings so famous?

Vincent van Gogh lived in very different times to the ones we know today.  Yet his pictures continue to fascinate us.  

Rugged faces and dramatic landscapes are characteristic of Vincent's paintings.  Amongst his repertoire are countless paintings of flowers.  The 'sunflowers' series is probably the best known.  The pictures hang in some of the finest museums of the world.

 It could be said that Vincent van Gogh painted his feelings. Deeply spiritual, Vincent painted nature.  A lot of his paintings show powerful clouds over landscape.  By looking at these paintings we can guess that Vincent was often sad.  Indeed, Vincent van Gogh battled mental illness for many of his most productive years.  He died, possibly by his own hand, at the age of only 37.

In the days that Vincent lived, ill people really did suffer.  Health care wasn't as comforting as today.  In fact, Vincent, 'the mad man', was even evicted from his appartment by his neighbours.  Locked into a mental asylum, Vincent wouldn't have had much entertainment to cheer him up.

All Vincen'ts paintings of flowers may have been his own way to bring happiness into his life.  Studying the intricate details of each bloom, marvelling at the geniality of nature's colours and shapes, Vincent spent many hours reproducing them in paintings.  

Isn't it sad to think that a genius like Vincent van Gogh led such an unhappy life?  

Isn't it great to realise that it's sometimes the simplest things in life, an ordinary sunflower or apple tree in blossom that focus us on happiness and the meaning of life itself!