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In the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh

Strap on virtual shoes and go for an immersive walk through the works of a master.

In the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 55.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely wonderful! This course did a great job of examining Van Gogh's art through the different periods in which he created it. I really enjoyed that breakdown of how each place he lived had a profound influence on him. Also, his relationship with his brother Theo and his mental illness were illustrated with humanity and compassion.
Date published: 2022-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent documentary of an extraordinary artist! The narrator was great and I thoroughly enjoyed every episode and gained a lot of insight to the life and art of Vincent van Gogh. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2022-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fine Course If you want/need to make a choice for a van Gogh biography, this is the one to pick. I've seen other video presentations/documentaries and they don't compare. Linking van Gogh's evolution to his location works well. A number of facts that are presented are missing by others. The presenter is a pro.
Date published: 2022-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Aptly named By visiting the actual locations that van Gogh traversed, the professor enables the viewer to see the scenes that inspired the artist. Additionally, his focus on the artist's personal life sheds light on van Gogh's unfortunate demise. Finally, all of his major works are included for the viewer's contemplation.
Date published: 2022-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from different approach A really excellent course. I loved seeing all the places Vincent lived, along with the artwork he produced there. The maps, historical background, reading of excerpts of his letters, the musical backdrop and Professor Isbouts' wonderful and natural presentation made Vincent's life and work come alive. Very worthwhile.
Date published: 2022-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I enjoyed this course Not a typical look at van Gogh. This is a close look at his life mainly in terms of where he was living and what he was doing there. Not a detailed look at his painting. I enjoyed these lectures.
Date published: 2022-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful!! This course is so well executed—the professor weaves many threads together—art history/criticism, biographical detail, geographical landscape. He does it all with such warmth and familiarity that the “academic” becomes very accessible. The cinematography alone is beautiful. The lectures are filled with photography of the places where Vincent lived--and give us the corresponding art which he was inspired to created in each of those places. I learned so much by watching these 15 episodes. Like all great teaching, it has inspired me to learn even more on my own—about Vincent, about the impressionists and about modern art. I would love to see more art history courses by this professor!!
Date published: 2022-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly enjoyable and enlightening Professor Isbouts’ enthusiasm for the subject of Van Gogh and his art manifest itself throughout the fifteen lectures. I listened to each lecture with growing interest as he proceeded from one to the next. His pleasant speaking manner and the accompanying soothing music made it enjoyable to listen to. Significant in the presentation was the host of images of Van Gogh’s paintings he displayed, many of which I might never have seen were it not for this fine course. Congratulations, Professor Isbouts on course well thought out and presented.
Date published: 2022-01-29
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Discover the secrets behind the life and work of one of the most recognized, yet misunderstood, artists of the modern world, Vincent van Gogh. This 15-episode course by Professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts will take you on a fascinating journey as you unravel the mysteries of the artist's one-of-a-kind style. Along the way, you will gain fresh insight and a deepened appreciation for the undeniable genius behind a troubled but brilliant artist.


Jean-Pierre Isbouts
Jean-Pierre Isbouts


Fielding Graduate University

Jean-Pierre Isbouts is an art historian and best-selling National Geographic author. He has served as a member of the doctoral faculty at Fielding Graduate University, where he is a Humanities Professor, for more than 15 years. He earned his DLitt at Leiden University.

Jean-Pierre’s work includes the authentication of a canvas in Geneva, Switzerland, as Leonardo da Vinci’s first version of the Mona Lisa, which prompted a BBC TV special. In 2019, he discovered that da Vinci and his workshop produced a second version of da Vinci’s famous Last Supper fresco, and he traced the work to a remote abbey in Belgium. This was covered in a TV special on NBC’s TODAY.

Jean-Pierre gained worldwide renown with his book The Biblical World. His books on biblical history include In the Footsteps of JesusWho’s Who in the Bible, The Story of Christianity, and Archaeology of the Bible. He has written a number of books on art with coauthor Dr. Christopher Heath Brown, including Young Leonardo, The da Vinci Legacy, and The Dalí Legacy.

Jean-Pierre is also the author of National Geographic’s Ultimate Visual History of the World and coauthor of Mapping America, written with Neal Asbury. His films include Van Gogh Revisited with Leonard Nimoy; Walt: The Man behind the Myth with Dick Van Dyke; Inside the Cold War with David Frost; and The Search for the “Mona Lisa” with Morgan Freeman. As a musicologist, he has produced recordings by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and other ensembles and soloists.

By This Professor

The History and Archaeology of the Bible
In the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh
In the Footsteps of Vincent van Gogh


The World of Vincent van Gogh

01: The World of Vincent van Gogh

Begin by tying together several fascinating facts about Van Gogh’s life, which then propel you to ask questions that lead to the uncovering of mysteries: Which parts of his life influenced his unique work—now worth hundreds of millions on the art market—and what drove him to a desperate act in the end?

21 min
Early Years in Brabant

02: Early Years in Brabant

Take a journey through Vincent’s younger years as Jean-Pierre shares a personal connection and details the events that marked Van Gogh and shaped his career. From learning French and English to taking his very first art class, Brabant and its landscapes leaves an indelible mark on the young Vincent.

22 min
The Turn toward Art

03: The Turn toward Art

Discover how Van Gogh makes an abrupt turn in his life trajectory and moves from ministry and missionary work to a life in art, aided by two influential men in his family. You will also begin to understand how difficulties with his parents and scandals with women will affect him.

23 min
The Nuenen Period

04: The Nuenen Period

What is it about the modest Protestant community of Nuenen that spurs Van Gogh to hit his stride in painting, and why does he leave his extensive body of work behind when he moves? This lecture dives into how the perceived richness and nobility of simple peasant life inspired the artist.

25 min
Vincent in Antwerp

05: Vincent in Antwerp

In many ways, it is in Antwerp that Vincent begins the remarkable evolution that will ultimately make him one of the most important painters in modern art. Explore his journey at the Antwerp Academy, where he slowly sheds the darkness of Hague and begins to play with light and color.

18 min
The Paris Art Scene in the 1880s

06: The Paris Art Scene in the 1880s

Did you know how much the Impressionist movement in Paris depended on Vincent’s brother, Theo? Find out the truth behind Theo’s enormous influence in promoting and establishing the movement and bringing together the Impressionist artists of the day, with scenes from Jean-Pierre’s television drama Manet in Love.

24 min
Vincent and Theo in Paris

07: Vincent and Theo in Paris

What would you do if a difficult relative dropped in without warning and announced they would be living with you from now on? Learn how Theo manages the situation when Vincent arrives in Paris, and revel in the way that Vincent inhales the wonderful new movements of Montmartre.

22 min
Vincent and the Post-Impressionists

08: Vincent and the Post-Impressionists

By the 1880s, the Impressionists have slowly begun to drift apart after the deaths of Frédéric Bazille and Édouard Manet. Follow Vincent’s journey as he immerses himself in the artist life and absorbs all he can from the artists around him in friendship and work, such as Seurat, Bernard, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

24 min
The Spring of Provence

09: The Spring of Provence

Having exhausted all he could learn in Paris, Vincent travels to what he refers to as “his Japan,” or Arles, France—living in his famed “Yellow House.” It is here that he begins to move beyond Impressionism and matures into his own style. Although his Yellow House was destroyed in World War II, modern 3-D animation shows us what it looked like.

20 min
Vincent’s Classical Period

10: Vincent’s Classical Period

As he settles down in Arles and opens himself to the power of bold, primary colors to evoke emotion, Vincent begins to feel the need for the companionship he had in Paris. Which of his artist friends will eventually agree to move to Arles and live with him in his Yellow House?

20 min
The Studio of the South

11: The Studio of the South

Perhaps the most well-known fact about Vincent’s troubled life is that he cuts his ear. Dive into the horrifying story of what it is that inspires him to do something so drastic, and how the people around him respond to the crisis—culminating in the loss of his beloved Yellow House.

22 min
The Asylum at Saint-Rémy

12: The Asylum at Saint-Rémy

Confined to an asylum, Van Goh enters a dark period of illness—yet it is out of this place that he draws inspiration to create his best-known masterpiece, The Starry Night. Listen as Professor Isbouts describes his research on what diagnoses were likely behind Vincent’s “insanity.”

23 min
The Art World in 1890

13: The Art World in 1890

While Vincent is sequestered away at the asylum at Saint-Remy, the art world is moving on. Amazingly, Vincent is gaining growing recognition among art critics, with works shown at an annual exhibition in Brussels. But is Paris ready for him when he returns to meet Theo and Johanna’s newborn baby?

20 min
Vincent in Auvers-sur-Oise

14: Vincent in Auvers-sur-Oise

In this lovely village along the Oise River, Vincent creates what is arguably his most developed and integrated work, including two portraits of his friend, Paul Gachet. However, always brewing underneath is the guilt, torment, and loneliness that will eventually drive him to his final day.

24 min
An End and a Beginning

15: An End and a Beginning

There are several theories surrounding Vincent’s death, including one featuring a boy in a Buffalo Bill costume. In this episode, we experience Vincent’s last hours. We then follow the amazing arc that will lift Vincent from obscurity to the worldwide fame he enjoys today.

32 min