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Vincent Van Gogh: A Mad Painter

Gianna Maglaya, Writer

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Mostly known for his impressionist paintings whose color represented a symbolic expression, Vincent Van Gogh now has artwork considered as historical masterpieces. However, contrary to beliefs, his mind had not been rationally positioned to paint.

As a child, Van Gogh struggled dealing with a highly emotional personality, lacking self-confidence, and finding his identity and direction. As a he grew up, that expanded into repeated anxiety attacks, depression, and a bipolar disorder, which would later claim his life.

The most direct and honest evidence of his inner turmoil came from the letters he would write to his brother Theo. In one excerpt, he writes, “I’m so angry with myself because I cannot do what I should like to do, and at such a moment one feels as if one were lying bound hand and feet at the bottom of a deep, dark well, utterly helpless.”

Alarmingly, studies suggest that Van Gogh had tried to poison himself by eating paint. Many people believe that he consumed the yellow paint because yellow represents happiness. He hoped that by eating yellow paint, he could inject some of that happiness into him.

Although this conjecture never gained scientific proof, it still cannot have a too far-fetched meaning.

A subtle optimism, however, brew under his deep despair and that kept him pushing forward and blossomed into his paintings. Unlike many artists who do not understand their inner conflicts, he saw his psychological struggles as his artistic truth and a vital part of his honest ability to convey truth.

Searching for a solution to his problems, Van Gogh used art as an outlet to find peace. His artwork acted powerfully, dramatically, imaginatively and emotionally. It explained his conflict and struggle against madness and his own profound comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature.

Even though while living he only managed to sell one painting, determination fueled his need to manifest happiness by creating beauty. His legacy will live on as one of the most influential artists.

Vincent Van Gogh–drawing the fine line between genius and madness.

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The School Bulletin of New Caney High School
Vincent Van Gogh: A Mad Painter