NPR stories about Van Gogh
Reflecting on Vincent van Gogh's defining mix of genius and mental illness, biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith describe the artist as "a wayward, battered soul: a stranger in the world ... an enemy to himself." Their account of his life, Van Gogh, has stirred up controversy by disputing the claim of most historians that the artist ended his life in a suicide. NPR critic Michael Schaub found their bold argument convincing, and
The stereotype of the brilliant, tortured artist exists for a reason — unfortunately, genius and mental illness often go hand in hand. That was definitely the case for Vincent van Gogh. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith call him "a wayward, battered soul: a stranger in the world ... an enemy to himself." The authors do a brilliant job following the Dutch painter's career, from the line drawings of his youth to the post-impressionist masterpieces that changed the world of art forever.