Because most of what we know about Vincent's life we have learned from his compulsive correspondence with his brother Theo, we know very little about his early life, since the first extant letter from Vincent to Theo is a brief note regarding Theo's visit to his brother in The Hague, dated August 1872. In her memoirs, his sister Elisabeth recalls Vincent being a serious, sensitive boy who preferred solitude to the companionship of family and friends and loved flowers, birds, and insects. He was a good student, but, according to his sister, his choice of clothing and his eating habits and solitary nature made him appear slightly strange to others from a young age. Vincent attended the local village school for academics and the parsonage for religious education from 1861 until 1864. From 1864 to 1866 he attended a boarding school in Zevenbergen, where he studied English, French, and German before transferring to a
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