Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, and Virginia Woolf all eventually ended their own lives. She had also been good friends with Sylvia Plath. Demi Lovato, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, has been outspoken about her mental health. De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images. After several suicide attempts, he fled the stresses of Parisian life and settled in Tahiti permanently in 1895, where he created some of his most famous works. The deterioration of Goya’s mental health was linked to the onset of his deafness at age 46, at which time he became increasingly isolated, paranoid, and afraid, according to letters and diaries. The tortured artist has been a recurring character in fiction and in real life. We share a common commitment to help destigmatize mental illness. In the late 1880s, he contracted dysentery and malaria in Martinique. 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The reality of this situation is, art has always been a powerful outlet, dating back to Ludwig van Beethoven and Vincent van Gogh to Georgia O’Keeffe. The Fountain Gallery fountaingallerynyc.com is the premier venue in NYC representing artists with mental illness. Typically, the only way to make out that we are looking at a self-portrait is the eyes. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) By far the most famous example of an artist with mental illness is … ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, 10 Most-Loved Paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth. Although the move provided artistic inspiration, it was not the reprieve he needed. David Foster Wallace, best known for his novel "Infinite Jest" and considered one of the foremost literary talents of his generation, tragically committed suicide by hanging himself on his patio in 2008. Sherman Alexie, Native American poet, writer, and filmmaker. 1. In one entry, he described the mental breakdown that resulted in his most famous masterpiece “The Scream:". These difficult subjects are important to current online creators as well. Beethoven was prone to bouts of energetic highs and suicidal lows. In 1903, he died at age 55 after a bout of morphine use. Today we’ll introduce four artists who suffered from mental illness – and how it affected their art. Midnightdreary / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0. After being found wandering around Park Avenue in a fugue state, the Canadian-born American artist was committed to the psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital, where she underwent electroshock therapy. The painter has been said to have suffered from depression (perhaps manic depression), bipolar disorder, hallucinations and episodes of derangement as well as epilepsy. Edvard Munch, the famous painter responsible for "The Scream" was one of the founders of the Expressionist Movement. Artwork on our website is offered in partnership with Spectrum ArtWorks and Artability. Clinical psychologist Maureen Neihart reported in the Roeper Review that “[t]he incidence of mental illness among creative artists is higher than in the population at large. Many have guessed at the root of van Gogh's mental illness. In the book "Diagnosing Genius: The Life and Death of Beethoven," author François Martin Mai notes that Beethoven showed sudden changes of mood going from energetic and driven to depressed and suicidal, showing the highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder. Gauguin continued to suffer from syphilis, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Louis Wain was an English illustrator born in 1860 who became well known for … Ellliott Smith Many may not know this, but Elliot Smith was sober at the time of his death in 2003. Van Gogh lived in Paris between the years 1886 to 1888. Despite a lack of recognition during his lifetime, van Gogh had more than enough to offer this world. During that time, he documented “episodes of sudden terror, peculiar epigastric sensations, and lapses of consciousness” in letters. Ludwig van Beethoven, widely considered one of the greatest composers in human history, may have had bipolar disorder. At the age of 27, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo: “My only anxiety is, how can I be of use in the world?” Over the next 10 years, it seemed that van Gogh had gotten closer to finding an answer to that question: through his art, he could leave a lasting impact on the world and find personal fulfillment in the process. Nonetheless, knowing a little of the backstory of this tortured artist can add a layer of meaning to any viewing of Martin’s serene, almost zen-like abstract paintings. During the late 1880s, Gauguin fled urban civilization to find a place where he could create "primitive" art. After her discharge, Martin relocated to the New Mexico desert, where she found ways to successfully manage her schizophrenia into old age (she died at 92 years old). Louis Wain. All of the examples above who have exuded art from their very surroundings have battled mental illnesses and made peace with their demons while producing some of the most well known forms of art. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in the head. Biographer Diane Wood Middlebrook was given access to more than 300 audiotapes of Anne Sexton's therapy sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Martin T. Orne for her book, "Anne Sexton." He ultimately committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37. https://www.treehugger.com/artists-who-suffered-mental-illness-4864205 The gallery sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators, and cultural institutions. The pool to choose from is vast, but here are eight artists who suffered while creating art that millions have enjoyed. Last week in Sydney, a bunch of local artists exhibited a show at Goodspace Gallery. Three years before his death, Wallace said about suicide in his famous commencement speech at Kenyon College, "This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. Countless painters, composers, writers and musicians have suffered from depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, prompting people to ask the question, are artists more likely to suffer from mental illness? Whether we're talking about Melancholia (1514) by Albrecht Durer or The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch, artists have been portraying mental disorders for centuries. 13 Optical Illusions That Will Blow Your Mind, 14 Famous People Who Mysteriously Disappeared, Diagnosing Genius: The Life and Death of Beethoven, his famous commencement speech at Kenyon College, a mysterious illness, causing him to suffer, his physical issues turned into mental symptoms. The artist's first period is characterized by tapestries, cartoons, and portraits. In 1889, he voluntarily committed himself to a mental hospital in Provence called Saint-Remy. In February of 1963, 10 years after attempting suicide with the sleeping pills, Plath succeeded in killing herself. If you click on that, be warned:The title does a good job of describing the visuals. The Norwegian artist said of the relationship between his mental illness and his work, "My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. We learn that it's because of her therapy sessions that she started to write. In addition to Van Gogh, many other artists had similar problems. She spent nine years working to bring environmental ethics issues into classrooms. The idea that mental illness somehow contributes to or enhances creativity has been discussed and debated for centuries. Paul Gauguin was a French post-impressionist artist who pioneered the Symbolist art movement. Symptoms of mental illness differ from normal thinking and behavior, and creativity requires special or uncommon capacities. Parallels can be drawn to connect creativity to major mental disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major … Munch is the creator of the very famous painting, The Scream. Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder ... my sufferings are part of my self and my art. Despite the fact that 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffer from mental illness each year, the stigma associated with issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more are still rampant. Soon after, his physical issues turned into mental symptoms including depression, hallucinations, delirium and weight loss. A 2012 study followed 1.2 million patients and their relatives and found that bipolar disorder is more common in individuals with artistic professions including dancers, photographers and authors. https://www.brainz.org/10-great-painters-mentally-disturbed Google Art Project / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain, Edvard Munch credited his mental illness for inspiring many of his creative works, including his most famous painting, 'The Scream. The painter suffered from poor health and contracted numerous diseases throughout his life. In his final years, Van Gogh’s mental health deteriorated and he was admitted into an asylum after cutting off his ear in front of fellow artist and friend, Paul Gauguin. While under psychiatric care, he created a stunning series of paintings. And authors were more likely to face other psychiatric diseases like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and schizophrenia. Alvin Ailey, American choreographer, diagnosed with bipolar disorder (then called manic depression). Salon reports that O'Keeffe had weeping spells and went periods without eating or sleeping. Later, a prostitute infected him with syphilis, a condition that, with its painful treatments, would plague him for life. Camera! The second thing is that people with mental illness tend to perseverate and focus on things more than the average person without a mental illness. Though the link between mental suffering and creative ability remains obscure, some of the western canon's most celebrated visual artists have indeed struggled with mental health issues. Edvard Munch is another famous artist that was plagued with mental illness, including anxiety and hallucinations. It isn't often we get to learn about the inner mind of a poet through anything more than poetry. (Scientists were also found to have the same link.) That, of course, is in addition to his alcoholism, a condition that eventually led to his death due to liver damage. Legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven is reported to have suffered from depression and, some have even speculated, bipolar disorder. Even the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle subscribed to the trope of the tortured genius, theorizing that "no great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness." These Artists Use Their Art To Talk About Mental Health. 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