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?
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.