Vincent van Gogh is well known for his work as well as a unique aspect of his personal life: the post-impressionist spent some time in a psychiatric clinic. He created works of art such as “Starry Night” and many of his well-known self-portraits there.
In addition to anxiety and depression, the artist experienced seizures. Some experts believe Van Gogh also suffered from xanthophyll overdose, which influenced his art because Van Gogh could see more yellowish colors, so he enhanced the yellow tones in his paintings.
Many other artists, in addition to Van Gogh, faced similar difficulties. Today, we will discuss four artists who suffered from mental illnesses and how this affected their work.
1. Mr. Louis Wayne
Louis Wayne is a well-known English artist known for his illustrations of anthropomorphic cats.
Big-eyed cats, which are commonly found in social settings, were not created to order. Although Wayne was already well-known as an illustrator, he began drawing cats to amuse his wife.
Unfortunately, Wayne lost his wife to cancer shortly after the wedding. Her death precipitated the artist’s deep depression.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 57, a disorder that affects not only a person’s way of thinking, but also their behavior. Wayne became aggressive and spent the last 15 years of his life in psychiatric institutions.
Not only did Wayne’s personality suffer, but his artwork began to resemble his original works less and less. His cats, who were previously happy and cheerful, began to change, becoming more geometric and colorful. The majority of these psychedelic kittens were born when Wayne was admitted to Napsbury Hospital, where he died.
Edvard Munch, No. 2
“I can’t get rid of my illnesses because many things in my art exist only because of them,” wrote Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, one of the main artists of the expressionist movement and creator of one of the most recognizable and famous paintings, “The Scream.”
Munch’s family history predisposed him to potential mental health issues. When he was a child, his mother and one of his sisters died of tuberculosis. His father was depressed, and one of his sisters was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He had a mental breakdown in 1908, exacerbated by alcoholism, and was committed to a psychiatric clinic in Denmark.
In addition to his known mental problems, the artist faced additional difficulties: his works were confiscated by Hitler’s government in 1937 and labeled “degenerate art” by the dictator.
Munch wrote that “Illness, madness, and death were the black angels that guarded my crib,” and he was even diagnosed with neurasthenia, a clinical condition associated with hysteria and hypochondria. His works are distinguished by figures that convey a sense of despondency and longing. Munch’s brushstrokes and colors in his compositions frequently reflect his own state of mind.
Francisco de Goya
The third artist on our list is Francisco de Goya, a Spanish painter. Goya was bedridden, deafeningly. His deafness could have been caused by syphilis or lead poisoning, among other things. However, the artist displayed signs of mental illness, which hampered his work.
Goya is thought to have been affected by Suzaka syndrome, a condition that causes problems with the brain and balance in addition to hearing and vision loss.
Attacks of hallucinations and delusions were also common during the artist’s most critical period of illness. He portrayed the severity of human melancholy in his works, and paintings depicting human suffering in his work are becoming more common.
Yannoulis Halepas, a Greek, is an exception. He is not only the only sculptor on our list, but the mental illness he suffered from had no effect on his style.
He began his artistic career quietly, and after studying in Munich, he opened an atelier in Athens. However, he began to exhibit the first signs of mental illness around 1878. He was only 36 years old when he was diagnosed with dementia ten years later.
Halepas’ mother believed that art was to blame for her son’s mental state, so she discouraged him from sculpting. He didn’t return to work until after she died in 1916. Researchers agree that it was during this time that he began to create sculptures with more freedom and was less bound by neoclassical ideals.
The relationship between mental illness and art has received a lot of attention recently. There is no denying that there is a link, especially when we consider art to be an elementary form of human communication. According to this viewpoint, artistic creativity is not only a reaction to illness, but also a way of expressing one’s feelings and fears.