Art and madness


A recent article in New Scientist magazine explores the link between mental illness and creativity, quoting the Roman philosopher, Seneca:

“There is no great genius without a tincture of madness.”

I watched the BBC drama-documentary on the life of Van Gogh over the weekend, and it seems that poor Vincent had more than ‘a tincture’. Were he around now, the artist would most likely be diagnosed as having bi-polar disorder. His creative output in the 11 years between stating his intention to become an artist and his death aged 37 years was astonishing. The heights of creativity sadly were matched in intensity by the depths of depression he suffered, considering himself to be a worthless failure.

If you have time (80 minutes), I think the programme is well-made and worth a watch.


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