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Van Gogh – At Eternity’s Gate

2018 | 101 min | K-12 | biography, drama

Van Gogh – At Eternity’s Gate is the story of an extraordinary talent who defied the norms of his time. It focuses on the artist’s last years and the productive period he spent in Arles, France. The journey to the beautiful light and colors of the south was tinged by a stormy friendship with Paul Gaugain (Oscar Isaak) – and van Gogh’s own mental breakdown. Ignoring doubters and scoffers, working in modest circumstances, Van Gogh created some of the world’s most beloved works of art. His most important supporter was his younger brother Theo (Rupert Friend), who saw Vincent as an interpreter for future generations. Other roles include e.g. Mads Mikkelsen, Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric. Director Julian Schnabel, known as a painter himself, rejects the typical conventions of a biopic and focuses on depicting the landscape of Van Gogh’s mind. (Source: Finnkino Oy)


1. Art and the life of an artist (Art and History):

  • Explore the life of the artist Vincent van Gogh and his significance in art history.
  • Compare the connection between the artistic creation process and the artist’s life.
  • Compare his art to that of other artists from the same period.

2. Mental health and creativity (Psychology):

  • Examine the mental health issues van Gogh faced and how they influenced his art.
  • Discuss the relationship between creativity and mental health.
  • Can you think of other similar artists who struggled with mental health issues?

3. Art analysis (Art):

  • Choose a work of art by Van Gogh and conduct a visual analysis (e.g., painting styles and themes).
  • Create your own artwork or a personalized version based on existing artworks.

4. Artist’s inspiration (Psychology):

  • Reflect on where artists draw their inspiration from and how it manifests in their work.


This learning material provides teachers with tools to delve into the themes and art of the movie “Van Gogh – At Eternity’s Gate.” It encourages students to contemplate the life of the artist, mental health, and creativity, while also offering opportunities for art analysis and creating their own artworks.

The learning material has been produced by Elokuvalisenssi.

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About the movie


  • arts
  • ethics
  • finnish
  • french
  • history
  • philosophy
  • psychology


  • arts history
  • cultural heritage
  • educational materials
  • learning materials
  • media education
  • movie technology
  • multiliteracy
  • reading skills of movie

Educational levels

  • high schools and vocational schools


  • biography
  • drama


  • based on true events

Age limits

  • K-12


  • Scanbox