Thursday Jul 29, 2010
Vincent, We Love You
Vincent van Gogh sans his red beard
1890: Vincent van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, two days after shooting himself.
From An Artist Empowered:
However, it appears that far from being the isolated lunatic on the fringe, van Gogh was a practical and methodical artist with a healthy sense of his times, coupled with an interest in science, astronomy, poetry, and literature. As Becky Hendrick, in her fine book, Getting It, puts it: “He was a great painter in spite of his mental illness, not as a result of it.” Van Gogh wasn’t mad when he painted or wrote letters, especially to his brother, Theo, which were clear, pragmatic, and mindful of his mission as an artist.
One could argue, as Albert Boime does, that Vincent was less mad and more a victim; he suffered seizures that were most likely brought on by a form of epilepsy; he didn’t recall cutting off his earlobe, and this frightened him.
On July 27, 1890, van Gogh left for a nearby field (earlier that month in the fields he had painted vast stretches of wheat, crows, and turbulent skies) where he shot himself—which might be explained away by a seizure, but not why he had a pistol with him.