Thursday, 11 April 2013

You have to be mad to be a genius

Perhaps this sentence sums up the life of Vincent Van Gogh.

We visited the mental institution in St Remy de Provence where he was admitted. Today it is part asylum, part museum, where funding comes from. In the museum, Van Gogh's cell is recreated and visitors get to see and imagine what it possibly looked like.

During Van Gogh's time, patients would be treated by having continuous baths to prevent them from having "new ideas". There are probably more humane ways today but one wonders if Van Gogh's paintings would look differently if he were treated in a different manner.

It costs €4.50 to enter the museum, which is quite pricy for a replica cell (bet the asylum didn't know they would be having such a prestigious guest!) Patients at St Paul undergo art therapy today and some of their art work can be seen and are available for purchase in the museum. Of course, they pale in comparison to Van Gogh's artwork which brings us back to the point where you have to be mad to be a genius.

And I wonder which category I belong to for going on this adventure...