Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunflowers 1888: Van Gogh, Looking Past the Ear

"Sunflowers 1888 - Vincent van Gogh sunflower Painting"

"Painting Title: Sunflowers (Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers) 1888
"Oil on Canvas, 92.1 x 73cm - 36 x 28 Inches (approx)
"Vincent van Gogh
"Famous Dutch artist - Post Impressionist painter

"About the Sunflowers Painting
"This is one of several versions of sunflowers that Vincent van Gogh painted. This version with 15 sunflowers was painted in Arles, in 1888. The painting is in the collection of the National Gallery in London, England."

artquotes.net has a (much) larger picture of Sunflowers 1888, and other Van Gogh paintings: including Starry Night over the Rhone 1888; A Pair of Shoes 1887; and Autumn Landscape 1885. I think they're worth the clicks and the few minutes it would take to look at them.

Vincent Van Gogh may be the most famous 'insane artist' in recent times. There's that thing about his ear - depending on who you listen to, he cut off a part of his left earlobe, or the whole thing. That's the lurid part of the story.

There's quite a lot about Van Gogh's life online:Epilepsy, depression, and alcohol show up more-or-less often in discussions of Van Gogh's life. There doesn't seem much doubt that something was troubling him - and that he killed himself in his late thirties.

That was a loss - for Vincent Van Gogh, and for everybody else. At a bare minimum, we lost a painter who had very real talent, and the sort of drive it takes to create art.

Off on a Tangent

Feel free to stop reading right here. the rest of this post is more about insanity, me, and how folks deal with others who are off the 50th percentile.

I've got a personal stake in how 'crazy people' are viewed. I was diagnosed with major depression a few years ago. And, thanks to a number of medications, am thinking more clearly and easily than I have in decades.

My own temperament, the nature of my problem, and my faith, all make it easy for me to continue taking my meds. Not everybody is in that position.

It's anyone's guess how Vincent Van Gogh would have been treated, and what he'd have done with his life, if he'd been born in 1953 - or later - instead of 1853. We've learned quite a bit in the last several decades: not just how the brain works, but that people with malfunctioning brains aren't necessarily 'being crazy' on purpose.

That was quite a step.

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