04 September 20XX
Vincent van Gogh as a Mad Genius
Vincent van Gogh is celebrated as one of the most influential Western artists in history, but he is also one of the most complex. Born in the mid 1800s in the Netherlands, van Gogh spent the first portion of his life intent on studying theology but turned to art only a decade or so before his death. While he created over two thousand pieces of artwork that are revered today, he was not considered a famous or noteworthy artist while he was alive and his life was tormented by mental instability, poor health, and substance abuse.
The most common speculated mental illnesses van Gogh was afflicted by are depression and anxiety. However, according to the …show more content…
He did this after having a fight with his Paul Gauguin, with whom he lived with and had a seemingly turbulent relationship. Van Gogh seems to have idealized a life in which he and Gauguin lived and created together at the home van Gogh spent months preparing for Gauguin, known as the Yellow House. In this time of optimism van Gogh was highly productive. His famous sunflower series was painted for the guest room at the Yellow House (Charles 90). Unfortunately, once Gauguin arrived another decline started. While van Gogh obviously wanted him around, Gauguin also seemed to be a constant reminder to van Gogh of his own failings both personally and artistically. Gauguin was of stable health and mind, and his art sold for considerably more than van Gogh’s (Naifeh & Smith 13984). Gauguin also considered van Gogh a friend and influence, even going so far as to paint a portrait of van Gogh painting his famous sunflowers, as seen …show more content…
As van Gogh himself wrote in a letter to his brother in May of 1890, “If I could have worked without this accursed disease, what things I might have done.” The most perplexing thing about the life and death of Vincent van Gogh is that there is no actual consensus over what medical issues van Gogh actually suffered from. Manic depression, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, alcoholism - there is ample evidence for all but definitive evidence for none. However, no matter what the underlying cause was, van Gogh’s mental state was more of a detriment to his life and his ability to continue both creating and living than it was a romanticized source of his