A Voice for Torture-inspired Art

A philosopher once wrote “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.” I say Vincent Van Gogh, and you think of Bipolar disorder, you think of the ups and downs, that somehow, over the years, churned around inside him, a genius blend of stars and sunflowers. I say Ernest Hemingway, and you think of depression, paranoia, an edgy erratic period in which “The Dangerous Summer” was produced, the last of many, many gripping masterpieces. And now sadly, I say Amy Winehouse, and you think of drug addiction, you think of a self-destruction that brought us the poignantly named “You Know I’m No Good.”

But let’s not think this way. Let’s forget the brilliant beauty, the glamour of the art. Because no matter how magnificent the by-product was, their torture cost them their lives. And after peeling back the layers and layers of artistic legacy, underneath there is a sickness. How many more paintings and books and songs would exist had they just got the help?
You could claim that the creativity wouldn’t be the same, but must they settle for premature death in order to maintain this? Few get their story heard through a canvas, or novel. So, how many others will suffer in silence?

Van Gogh’s final words were: “The sadness will last forever.” And the art will last forever. But we won’t forget the sadness behind it.





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