a visionary- Vincent Van Gogh. photo by Victor Morin, 1886. Van Gogh's first vocation was Christian missionary to the poor. His mission board dismissed him when he insisted on living as the poorest of the poor himself. Embittered toward the church, Van Gogh's intense spirituality remained in his compassion for the poor and in the vitality of his artworks, all of which, he insisted, were painted when he was of sound mind and not suffering a flare of his mental illness.