Sep. 18th, 2010

axeslade: (Default)
Dear people who romanticise Vincent Van Gogh's mental disturbances (and those of other artsy folks):

Recently acquitted from the hospital, Van Gogh suffered a severe setback in December 1889. Although he had been troubled by mental illness throughout his life, the episodes became more pronounced during his last few years. In some of these periods he was either unwilling or unable to paint, a factor which added to the mounting frustrations of an artist at the peak of his ability. His depression gradually deepened. On 27 July 1890, aged 37, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He survived the impact and managed to walk back to the Ravoux Inn. He died there two days later. Theo rushed to be at his side. Theo reported his brother's last words as "La tristesse durera toujours" (the sadness will last forever)".

That? Not romantic. It feels like, to me, a really pretty way of saying 'even killing myself won't make the pain stop'. And that's just so horrible.

So yes. He saw the world differently partially due to his depression and painted some beautiful things. But that depression often caused him to be unable to do what he loved, and ultimately drove him to a death that, in his eyes, still couldn't save him from suffering.

Mental illness isn't romantic, okay? It sucks. Sometimes we take the suck and turn it into something good, but overall IT JUST SUCKS.

The extent to which his mental illness affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticise his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of sickness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, Van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace"


*All quotes from the wiki article


axeslade: (Default)
A most peculiar mademoiselle

January 2011

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