One of the most famous artists is known for something out side his art. Vincent Van Gogh!
We all know his art. He painted self-portraits, landscapes and and flowers.
But what I really want to know is, why did Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear? I mean, who does that?!
According to History.com, Van Gogh had moved to Arles, in the south of France. While living there, Gauguin started living with Van Gogh.
They were simply roommates who were working together. For reasons unknown, the working relationship grew tense.
In a fit of rage, Van Gogh threatened Gauguin but ultimately pulled a knife and used it on himself. As if his behavior wasn’t bizarre enough, it is thought that he wrapped up his earlobe and gave it to a prostitute.
One writer, Martin Bailey, claims that he found evidence that the cutting of the ear was a result of learning that his brother, whom he was supportive of both emotionally and economically, had gotten engaged. He came to this conclusion because, on the same day he cut his ear off, Martin believes he would have recieved a written letter sharing the news of the engagement.
This tragic incident led to Van Gogh to check himself into a psychiatric hospital for a year! His friend, Gauguin was rumored to have visited him often.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure anyone will ever answer the big “why” question but what we do know is that, while in the psychiatric hospital, Van Gogh displayed breathtaking creativity. In fact, ‘Starry Night’ was painted while Van Gogh was in the hospital.
Whether Van Gogh had a disagreement with Gauguin or was distraught over his brothers news, for me, the hardest part of learning about Van Gogh is seeing, or reading about his struggles. The cutting of his ear was a minor thing considering, two short years later, Vincent Van Gogh lost his fight with mental illness.
At the young age of 37 he shot himself and ultimately lost his life two days later. If only Van Gogh could have heard the wise words from Taylor Swift,
“When you feel like you’re the only person in the world feeling this way, you’re not”. We all know today that many people struggle with mental illness, just as Van Gogh did in the late 1800’s.
Since I can’t answer the art question this week, I hope the discussion helped you better understand and recognize the mental health battle that is so relevant in society. The late, great, Whitney Houston struggled the battles of mental illness, as did Ludwig van Beethoven.
No one is immune. So, as I leave you to ponder Van Gogh and his lost ear, please remember that everyone you run into is battling something.
As Ellen Degeneres says,”be kind to one another”.