How the work of eight artists revealed a much more personal truth…
Eight troubled talents who proved that genius has its price
Impoverished, inspired, insane: the image of a tortured artist is often a romantic one. More often than not, the celebrated Vincent van Gogh tops the charts of these troubled souls.
A penniless painter haunted by melancholy and depression whose reputation as one of the greatest modern artists only truly blossomed after his suicide, van Gogh – the man – seemed like the very picture of pity.
But depression does not discriminate. Mental wellbeing transcended – as it continues to transcend today – wealth and status. For every struggling artist who fought his own demons there existed another who suffered while the commissions rolled in. Van Gogh might be the archetype of today’s vision of a tortured genius, but even court painters like Goya and ‘Renaissance men’ like Michelangelo faced hardships in mental health.
These artists, however, aren’t to be pitied – in many cases, these creative geniuses acknowledged the drive and inspiration that they gleaned from their personal struggles, particularly van Gogh.
Indeed, Richard Dadd, a Victorian painter who spent his life in asylums, was liberated creatively by life locked up in an asylum.
Van Gogh’s Ward in the Hospital in Arles where he spent time in an asylum