Van Gogh: Behind the Paintings
Vincent Van Gogh was one of many posthumously famous painters. Whether his goal was fame or not, his talent is evident and famous even now, one hundred years later. His talent may be most obvious in one of his most famous paintings, “Starry Night,” which was painted during his stay at a mental asylum and depicted the view outside his room at night and was painted by memory during the day. Although beautiful, many of his paintings including this one show deep insight into man’s spiritual and social condition of the time. Utilizing postimpressionist styles and innovating them adventurously, Van Gogh passionately drew and painted all throughout his life. Although painting much until his death at the young age of 37 due to self-inflicted gunshot wounds, Van Gogh was rarely if ever happy with his works. In fact, he wasn’t happy at all with the beloved “Starry Night,” declaring in a letter to his brother Theo that the painting lacked “individual intention and feeling in the lines…”
Much of his unhappiness with his works and probably his life seems to stem from a tormented life of much suffering and loss. Vincent had an older brother who died at birth and whose name was also Vincent Van Gogh. He suffered from epilepsy as well as several ther mental and physical conditions as well as an addictin to absinthe. Many are aware of his famed chopping off of an ear lobe to give as a gift to a prostitute. He was arrested and hospitalized because of this incident. He also suffered from syphilis, lead poisoning and malnutrition from living in poverty. It seems mental instability and health problems were hereditary as he and his brothers all died young and his sister spent most of her life locked up in a mental asylum. Yet, in spite of the striking odds against this severely depressed and arguably unstable man, he painted and desperately tried to express his soul through his work.
The Painted Word