Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous painters. His work has been exhibited around the world and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of works by the artist.
Van Gogh is almost as famous for his medical condition, the nature of which has been the source of debate over the years between medical professionals. While depression is most often singled out as the culprit, most likely due to the famous ear-cutting incident, a more nuanced view of Van Gogh’s condition is being looked at.
The modern diagnosis for Van Gogh’s illness now includes Meniere’s disease. This could explain the many bouts of sudden “fits” that sent Vincent reeling and caused him to be bed-ridden for much of his later life.
Looking at the painting themselves lends credence to this reassessed diagnosis. Van Gogh’s style of short, lively brush strokes that inhabit the backgrounds and landscapes of his paintings demonstrate a world of constant motion. Dizzying at times, the paintings have a life of their own. At once organic and disconcerting, these paintings can remind one of the visual effects experienced by those who suffer from the various forms of vertigo.
Who knows what Van Gogh’s paintings would look like without the onset of his medical issues? Would we have the vibrant brush strokes that have entranced generations?