Most people know Vincent van Gogh as the tortured artist who cut off his own ear. But there was so much more to him than that. He was a post-impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art.

Van Gogh didn't start painting until he was 27 years old. In fact, he spent most of his life as an art dealer. But after a trip to Paris in 1886, he decided to become a full-time painter. And the rest is history!

His paintings are characterized by their bright colors and unique brush strokes. Some of his most famous works include Starry Night, The Potato Eaters and Sunflowers.

Branch of an Almond Tree in Blossom is one of Vincent van Gogh's most famous paintings. The painting depicts a branch of an almond tree in blossom, with the flowers just beginning to open.

Van Gogh's painting technique in this work is characterized by the use of bold and vibrant colors and a lot of brushstrokes, which helped to create a sense of movement and energy.

The branch is set against a blue sky, with the flowers in the foreground. The painting carries the feeling of springtime and freshness of the blossoming trees.

The blossoming almond tree here is meaning one thing: Rebirth.

Painted as a gift for his brother Theo who just had a baby son, Vincent Willem, this almond tree is signifying the joy and energy of life. Almond trees flower early in the spring making them a symbol of new life. Van Gogh borrowed the subject, the bold outlines and the positioning of the tree in the picture plane from Japanese printmaking. These strong branches with new life are also a symbol of the van Gogh's family growing, extending into the Earth's blue canvas with strong arms.

On January 31, 1890, in the letter announcing the new arrival, Theo wrote:

‘As we told you, we’ll name him after you, and I’m making the wish that he may be as determined and as courageous as you.’

With a striking tone of blue, this blossoming tree is quite fitting to this wish: A kind welcome to Vincent Willem, a baby to eventually carry the strength to face the struggles of life with courage and determination.

The partial framing of the branches and bold outlines are an ode to Van Gogh's love of Japanese art.

[1] Almond Blossom - Van Gogh Museum

[2] The Story Behind the Blossoming Almond Tree