Van Gogh was not crazy

Vincent van Gogh source:
Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh was not crazy. Yes, he most likely had mental health problems, but he was not crazy. He was human.

just like you and me.

It is easy to lose sight of his humanness since we are detached from van Gogh by time, but I promise you he was human.

full of thoughts, fears, friends, emotions, imperfections, and talents…human

Calling van Gogh crazy makes him different from his fellow humans on the basis of his mental health problems. How can he be so different if so many of us struggle with our mental health as well?

my simplistic imitation

If we are going to talk about van Gogh being different from his fellow humans in any way, let it be because of his talent. Let’s make this his defining feature, his ability to take someone’s breath away when they view something his hand created.

And no, his talents are not the result of his mental illness. Van Gogh was an extremely talented human being because that is who he was. It is more likely that his mental health held him back.

 We’ve talked about artists a few times in my Dutch classes, including van Gogh, which is how I thought of writing about this. For a final paper I choose to write about van Gogh. Even though it was several pages long I wanted to write the whole paper without mentioning his mental health at all because he is so much more than that. Here is the final paragraph of the report, in the original Dutch and an English translation.

van gogh




  1. Reblogged this on रंगमंच and commented:

    There are so many things said about distinguished artists. It is sad and maybe ironical that great men have lived not so merry lives. I don’t have an explanation or maybe I don’t want to really dive into it. It will sound like sympathy.
    It’s just not about Van Gogh or Galileo for that matter. It’s about the common man.


  2. Thanks for your post! So often people can feel like their mental illness is their identity, but its not! Just like Van Gogh HAD a mental illness but wasn’t his mental illness, so too with the rest of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree.

    I actually have a beef with even calling any mental health issue a mental health issue. Even the term “mental health problem” has a stigma attached. ALL health issues are a PHYSICAL issue in our bodies caused by a chemical difference, or a “wiring” issue, and the very nature of them are physical. But because the symptoms are ones that create emotional chaos and unbalance…they are seen as a mental health issue. which then somehow we should be able to overcome easier just by willing our way out of it.

    depression is no more a mental health issue than diabetes is. The difference is depression manifests differently in a person than diabetes does. No one tells a diabetic to will their body to process carbohydrates better do they? nope.

    (@superaddmom on twitter)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amazingly well said!!
      It reminds me of when I was meeting with my university to get extra time on exams. They asked are you here for a chronic illness or a mental illness? Well OCD has been here for years and follows me everywhere soo…?


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