Happy 164rd Birthday, Vincent. You will forever hold a place in the hearts of those who love your work.
Who doesn’t know of Vincent Van Gogh? And really what can I say about him that hasn’t been said? I’ve read multiple books on him and have enjoyed his paintings for years. There has always been a mystery and a tendency to romanticize his mental illnesses. Was he really mentally ill and tormented or a victim of poison in his paints? Was he extremely sensitive and couldn’t stand all the rejection he faced? Hundreds of physicians and psychiatrists have tried to define Vincent’s medical conditions over the years.
Here are a few of the probable diagnoses:
- He was born with a brain lesion which caused his epileptic condition.
- Bipolar Disorder: His extreme emotional ups and downs are a symptom of this.
- Thujone poisoning: Vincent Van Gogh drank absinthe, a toxic alcoholic drink popular with many artists at the time.
- Lead poisoning: Because Vincent used lead based paints there are some who believe he suffered from lead poisoning from nibbling at paint chips.
- And last but not least, sunstroke.
Regardless, he was a genius.
Now for the sake of formalities and those who don’t know Vincent.
Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.
Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh)
In celebration of Vincent Van Gogh here are some of my favorites below. What are yours?