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Van Gogh and mental illness

            His fingers flew over the canvas, never once being able to meet the speed at which his imagination flew; the colours vivid and true expressed the man's innermost fire for creation. The artist's creativity is revered; whilst their eccentricities are found repulsive. Vincent Van Gogh was notorious for his eccentric lifestyle which resulted in his eventual suicide; he is a classic example of art and the mind interplaying. (Pierard, 1925)The artist has a greater chance to suffer from mental disease based on their lifestyle, the concentration of their subconscious personality, and the effects that an ailment has on their life and art. Van Gogh's work was in direct result of the mental diseases from which he suffered, this is exemplified by works like Starry Night and The Night Café. .
             The lifestyle of an artist has been historically documented as a strenuous one. Not only must they compete in a very critical world of dealers and peers, but they are also expected to have a startling personality to go along with their canvases. Upon arriving in Paris, Vincent Van Gogh was immediately introduced to alcohol and the hallucinogenic drink named Absinthe. (Hanson, 1955) It was his sleepless nights spent socializing and drinking did he come in contact with the post-impressionist masters of his era. He oft debated art theory amongst Lautrec, Paul Signac and Gauguin. Signac was an advocate for Seurat's theory in colour and pointillism. This relationship caused an evolution in van Gogh's work as his experimented with pointillism and a more vibrant colour palette. (Milner, 1991)This later translated into his work, as his brush strokes became broader in his own homage to pointillism, evident in both Starry Night and The Night Café. Gauguin also had a huge influence upon van Gogh's works. They had a very close relationship as they both resided in a house together in Arles. Gauguin valued the Japanese style of flattening space and the use of lines to outline a figure.

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