The whole truth about Van Gogh’s ear: why the artist’s mad genius turned out to be a myth Automatic translate
Since its inception in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of works by the genius of post-impressionism. Until that moment, all the museum’s exhibitions were focused on demonstrating the high aesthetics and the progress of Dutch painting, the progress “on the verge of madness” that was achieved thanks to the artist’s creativity.
At the new exhibition, in addition to the 25 paintings by Van Gogh, something special is also shown, namely the facts concerning the personality of the artist during the most tragic period of his life. In particular, the exhibition presents the amputation scheme and recollections of Felix Rey, the doctor who treated the artist in a hospital in Arles, in December 1888, immediately after the incident. The figure shows that the patient cut out almost the entire auricle, leaving only a part of the petal. The scheme is shown next to the portrait of the doctor, which was made by Van Gogh as payment for medical services. Rei confirms that Van Gogh cut off not just the lobe, as was commonly believed, but the entire left ear. This clarifies an important point - the artist’s extreme act warned of his possible suicide.
According to the New Yortk Times, new details of the story were found in a document found in Bancroft’s library, University of California, by Irish historian Bernadette Murphy during an investigation into the circumstances of the artist’s last years. Her findings formed the basis of the book Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story, which will also be presented at the exhibition.
Van Gogh’s medical history always raised many questions: whether it was true or a myth, and to what extent the disease affected the artist’s work. The new exhibition not only confirms the presence of a mental illness, but confirms the fact that it seriously interfered with Van Gogh’s work and life.
Madness frightened the artist, although he recognized him as inseparable from his artistic genius. In letters to Theo’s brother, Van Gogh often referred to Emile Wauters, The Madness of Hugo van der Goes, which depicts a Flemish painter of the 15th century who also suffered from a mental illness, but at the cost of careful self-control and hard work tried to stay sane.
For Van Gogh, this picture personified the dark romantic connection of genius and madness, the fatality of the disease, which Van Gogh himself personified for contemporaries. A new exhibition at the museum in Amsterdam is trying to answer this question: how correctly do we imagine the life of the famous Dutch artist who committed suicide on a corn field in Over-sur-Oise in 1890?
All modern evidence, including paintings, documents, and even a heavily rusted revolver found by a farmer in the same field in 1960, makes it possible to assert that Van Gogh’s disease was not an aid, but an obstacle to his talent.
When his paintings, which had practically no demand during the artist’s life, attracted attention and recognition after his death, the author of dazzling yellow sunflowers began to appear to be broken by a desperate, mysterious, internal pain. The radical French playwright Antonin Artaud, who spent the last years of his life in shelters, calls Van Gogh the man whose society is to blame for suicide. In 1956, in Lust for Life, Van Gogh, played by Kirk Douglas, appears as a tragic character who is unable to control the flows of emotions and energy that make him a great artist.
This image of Van Gogh as a “crazy genius” partly originates in his own art. In Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear (1889), he does not hesitate to show his crippled face, but he looks at the viewer with the blue eyes of a dreamer. And this is after he cut off his ear and presented a bloodied gift in an envelope of one of the local prostitutes. On the one hand, we understand that this is a crazy person, and on the other, we see a person who is free from illness.
New data refute the theory that appeared in 2009, according to which his friend Paul Gauguin cut off the earlobe of Van Gogh with a sword. The radical amputation described by Dr. Rey is possible only if you make efforts purposefully, this is not an accidental injury, it is an act of serious violence against yourself. In this light, the statements by American biographers Stephen Naife and Gregory White Smith (Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith) that Van Gogh did not kill himself, but was killed by someone else, which is allegedly confirmed by the appearance of a gun later, also look doubtful. many years. A 7mm pocket gun was found on the spot where Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. The extreme degree of corrosion makes it possible to assume that it has been in the ground since the 19th century.
Other exhibits at the exhibition, including his latest paintings, reveal his dark psychological state, which reinforces the belief that Van Gogh died as a result of suicide, after a long illness that tormented him and led to almost imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital. Of course, making a final diagnosis to a great artist today is not possible. Obviously, Van Gogh suffered from bouts of depression and mental paralysis. During periods of exacerbation of the disease, he could not work. Painting, controlled and constant work, was the way in which he tried to remain sane. Van Gogh often told friends that he smokes a pipe for the same reason - it helps him control his madness.
In the painting “Van Gogh’s Chair” (1888), we see a simple, stable rustic chair, and this is a very striking symbol. So, apparently, he himself wanted to see himself - a modest and practical, reliable friend. On the straw seat is a pipe and tobacco, it seems that he just put them here in the hope that he could curb his inner darkness. And then he went out into the field.
Anna Sidorova © Gallerix.ru
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