Vincent van Gogh--one of the 19th century's most brilliant artists--will forever be remembered as the Dutchman who cut off his ear. But this incident only underscores the passion that consumed him--a passion that, when he took up painting at age 27, infused his work. Whether painting a portrait, a landscape, or a still life, Van Gogh sought to capture the vibrant spirit of his subject. It didn't matter that others found his work too unconventional. Van Gogh persevered. And as he moved from the cold climate of Holland to balmy southern France, he pioneered a new technique and style. In a career spanning only a decade, Van Gogh painted many great works, yet fame eluded him. This lack of recognition increased his self-doubts and bitter disappointments. Today, however, Van Gogh stands as a giant among artists.