Vincent Van Gogh Topic Guide

Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) is considered to be one of the most popular and influential artists who has ever lived. His post-impressionist style, bright colours and bold images are familiar from paintings such as Sunflowers (1888) and Irises (1889).

Despite his talent, during his lifetime he sold only one of his paintings, Today, his works fetch high prices and are displayed in museums around the world.

Teach your children about Vincent van Gogh using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Create your own version of The Starry Night.
  • Look closely at one of Van Gogh’s works and make a list of vocabulary that you could use to describe it.
  • Write a story where one of Van Gogh’s pictures is important in the plot.
  • Paint or draw your own self-portrait, in the style of Van Gogh.
  • Create a timeline of events in Van Gogh’s life.
  • Sketch a vase of flowers from real life. Look closely at them, what shapes can you see? What colours?


The Van Gogh Pack

Vincent van Gogh Facts

  • Van Gogh did not start painting until he was 27. In the following ten years, he produced nearly 900 paintings.
  • Van Gogh painted his own self portrait over thirty times.
  • It is believed that van Gogh only sold one painting of his own during his lifetime; Red Vineyard at Arles.
  • Van Gogh did not have the money to pay for professional models, so he painted subjects such as flowers, landscapes and himself instead.
  • The colours in van Gogh’s paintings have become less vibrant since he painted them. Like many painters of the time, he used a pigment called chrome yellow which fades and changes as time passes.


Starry Night

This beautiful animation brings the painting to life.

Running time: 4:10

Who was Vincent van Gogh?

This biography from the Van Gogh museum is a great overview of his life.

Running time: 4:20

How to paint Vincent Van Gogh´s Sunflowers

This step-by-step tutorial shows how to create your own sunflower picture, in the style of Van Gogh.

Running time: 9:50


Katie and the Sunflowers

Katie steps into Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting. What will happen next?

Camille and the Sunflowers

What happens when the artist Vincent Van Gogh arrives in Camille’s town?

Discovering Great Artists

This book has an activity based on The Starry Night, as well as lots of others based on the work of other great artists.

Sunflowers and Swirly Stars

This book introduces his life story, and his work.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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