voices in the family

Van Gogh: Madness and the creative mind



Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to the mp3

March 5, 2012 ‚ÄĒ The “Red-headed Madman” Vincent Van Gogh lived a tumultuous life, complicated by bouts of anxiety and mental illness. An exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art features a collection of his works created in the year just before his death, a time of “feverish artistic expression” and personal distress. Many extremely creative people — Beethoven, Newton, Woolf — suffered from psychiatric disorders. It’s not a clear picture, though. Does creativity mask the madness? Does the madness boost creativity, expanding depth and insight?

Dr. Dan Gottlieb takes a look at the connection between the creative mind and disquieted mind in light of¬†Van Gogh’s works in Philadelphia and a new biography that raises the question: does the painter’s mental state matter? Dan’s guests are author¬†Steven Naifeh and psychiatrist¬†Barry Panter, PhD. and M.D. Pulitzer Prize winning writer Steven Naifeh’s new book is “Van Gogh: The Life,” written with Gregory White Smith. Barry Panter is the founder of the Creativity and Madness Conference. He’s written “Creativity & Madness: Psychological Studies of Art and Artists.”

Photo by Flickr users Steven Zucker, D Flam, and Tony Hisgett

Share this story:




Share a comment:


Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow WHYY's terms of service; WHYY reserves the right to remove any inappropriate comments. See also WHYY's privacy policy.


Comments are closed.




You may also be interested in: