Van Gogh: The LifeBy Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
Vincent van Gogh was born in the village of Groot-Zundert, south of the Netherlands on March 30, 1853, to upper middle class parents. His father was a protestant pastor and the family lived in the parsonage near the border with Belgium.
You don’t need to know anything about the artist’s life, or understand his technique to be able to appreciate his work. Monet said “People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it it's simply necessary to love.”
You don’t need to know anything about the artist’s life and his times, or understand his technique and motivations to be able to appreciate his work, but it helps.