Self-portrait of van Gogh during psychotic episode, thought to have been a fake, deemed real

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Somewhat apropos, I went to the van Gogh Still Lifes a few weeks ago. The exhibition is roughly chronological, and it was interesting to see how quickly, and radically, his style changed over his short career.

I also had a very strong emotional response at one point. The gallery is - deliberately - pretty dim. I was peering at a muddy brown painting of a couple of potatos, then turned half right to be confronted by this

In the dim light the flowers were almost fluorescent, in stark contrast to everything up to that point. (Edit: the picture above really doesn’t do it justice, especially as it is in the context of the gallery)


Self-portrait of van Gogh during psychotic episode

Alternate title: Don’t Tell Me It’s Monday Already


Nice. The weekend had a re-surfacing double Klimt, today you show me an ear-full of van Gogh. I dig it.


Van Gogh must surely have realised that those outside the art world would assume that he was depicting his left ear, which had been mutilated.

As an artist, I can say with some authority that most of us just don’t think about things that hard.



I remember once seeing one of his landscapes in a museum, then getting closer and noticing the bizarre brushwork. And then thinking, after looking at it for a long, long time, “Whoa, that is some amazing brushwork. How the hell did he do that?!”


The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam is soooo worth visiting, in addition to so much else the city has on offer, culture-wise. It is almost overwhelming, and like another poster mentioned, some of his work can really trigger quite an emotional response. I mean, they’re masterworks, and to be surrounded by a (lovely) museum just full of them – it’s really special.


Okay, who else here first heard of van Gogh because Snoopy has one?


I had the same reaction to this one

I was looking at it for a while, then really noticed the bottle

Dear god - how did he do that?!


For me it was the iris painting in the met.

Photos do it no justice. I hate to be all cliche, but the focused energy that exists in some of his paintings is just so very fucking intense.

(And beautiful and filled w reverence and awe)




Also an artist, and instead I’m taking it one step further…

One year before, Kodak made the paper photograph possible (instead of heavy plates), and patients in mental institutions were often documented.
It’s my guess that the ear location problem might be explained by the aid of a photograph. Also, to me one of his most physically correct self-portraits.

Just thinking of possibilities…


I just finished reading The Last Leonardo, which dedicates a lot of ink to the inexact world of art attribution. The experts rarely agree universally agree whether or not a newly found painting is really by the artist it is attributed to, and with so much money being exchanged for paintings by famous artists nowadays, sometimes it’s hard to believe they’re all being objective. I’m sure a painting from 1898, by Van Gogh who did hundreds of other works to compare it to is much more easily attributed than one from 1500 by Leonardo, who only has about 19 surviving paintings (depending on who you believe), but after reading that book I’ll always have my doubts.

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