His brilliance bordered on madness: Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his life!

Vincent Van Gogh, Photo: Wikimedia

Today one of the most respected artists and owner of the most recognizable painting style, Vincent van Gogh, in his time he was more recognizable by the epithet crazy than his genius.

In addition to that was the fact that Van Gogh suffered from several mental illnesses, although his "madness" despite numerous theories and analyzes is still not fully clarified.

He worked 20 hours a day and in his life made over 800 paintings of which he managed to sell only one. Those same works that were considered worthless when Van Gogh painted them, today adorn the walls of the most prestigious galleries, and their value is millions of dollars.

"Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear" (1889)

"I painted with all my heart and soul, and I lost my mind in the meantime," said the famous painter on one occasion.

Van Gogh's paintings radiate unusual restlessness, even when the most idyllic landscapes are on them. If looking at his starry skies, wheat fields, irises, sunflowers or fiery sunsets arouses unusual and strong feelings in you, you may be able to sense the emotional and mental state of this artist.

Ear incident

It is known that Van Gogh in a moment of madness cut his own ear and gave it to a prostitute from a nearby brothel. It was an event that is understood as the culmination of his madness and another item in the today generally accepted biography of this artist. What is less well known is the story that preceded this event.

Photo: Profimedia

In fact, after a few weeks in the city of Arla, Van Gogh shared his home with another painting great - Paul Gauguin. However, their relationship could not be called friendly. Frequent quarrels led Van Gogh to reach for a knife and cut off his ear one night, or Gauguin did so during their argument, according to another theory.

There are also various theories as to whether Van Gogh cut off the whole ear or just part of it. The letter of the French doctor who treated Vincent, Felix Ray, solved all these dilemmas. It contained a drawing showing how damaged the ear was.

After this incident, Van Gogh was placed in a mental hospital, and the following morning the Dutch newspapers published a text with the following content: "Yesterday at 23.30 pm the painter whose name is Vincent Van Gogh appeared in front of the brothel (Maison de tolérance nr. 1) looking for the girl Rachel and giving her his ear, saying, Keep this as a treasure; and then disappeared. After that, the police were notified about the event, which could only have been caused by an unhappy and crazy person, so the next morning they searched for this person. They found him in bed with barely any visible signs of life."

"Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe" (1889)

"I dream a picture and then I paint the dream"

The period while Van Gogh was in the mental hospital was also one of his most productive painting periods. He completed over 100 drawings and painted 75 paintings, including his famous "Starry Night".

Van Gogh never painted during his attacks, but his illness and captivity in the hospital greatly influenced the artistic themes he dealt with in his paintings.

"Starry Night" (1889)

The attachment to religious themes, as well as the themes of family life and the life of a prisoner, were a direct allusion to his personal situation.

Vincent was dedicated to his work and lived for art and love, despite becoming increasingly anxious, depressed and lonely, and wrote to his brother Theo, who always supported him emotionally and financially, that he was desperate and angry with himself because he can not work as he would like and that he is increasingly convinced that his life is a great failure.

A Bedroom at Arles (1888)

Distracted and melancholic by nature, Van Gogh's devotion to work led him to neglect his health. Because he spent the money on painting materials, he was poorly fed. Losing most of his teeth later affected his stomach problems. He suffered from insomnia, drank excessively, contracted gonorrhea, then syphilis, ate paint, turpentine and paraffin.

Van Gogh also thought of his own death as he walked past the tomb on which his name was written - the tomb that actually belonged to his brother who died before Vincent was born. All of this led to frequent nausea and seizures, and Van Gogh was increasingly losing control.

Van Gogh through letters

In one of the letters addressed to his brother, Van Gogh said about his painting and his view of the world: "These are my ambitions that are based more on love than anger, based more on calmness than on passion. It is true that I am often in my most miserable state, but still within me there is peace, pure harmony and music. In the poorest shacks, the dirtiest alleys, I see drawings and paintings. And with some irresistible force my mind is drawn to these things. Believe me, sometimes I laugh with all my heart that people accuse me of all kinds of malice and absurdities, for which no part of me is to blame. I am really no one else but a friend of nature, learning, work and despite everything - people".

There are many modern diagnoses for his insanity. Psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, these are just some of them.

Only one thing is certain: because of his madness, Van Gogh suffered, grieved, was lonely, and besides - he painted and loved.

"Sunflowers" (1889)

"Roots of the Tree" from 1890 is the last work that Van Gogh painted.

The painting he worked on until the last day of his life, with his skillful and undefined composition, perhaps best represented the strong emotional turmoil of this artist.

A few hours later that same day in 1890, pressing a gun to his heart, Van Gogh attempted to take his own life.

Photo: Profimedia

That attempt was unsuccessful at first, because the bullet bypassed his heart, so Vincent spent the next two days of his life on his deathbed. He was looked after by his brother Theo. In the arms of the only person who understood and truly loved him, he finally sighed and said his last words: "This is how I wanted to leave."

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