Van Gogh had fallen into his deepest depression since the last episode, which involved his ordering a Western omelet in the nude.
He was now humiliated beyond control. Not ony had his portrait of “Kleeg the Butcher with Pig” been rated as on of his worst; no one could explain why the artist painted Kleeg as the pig, and the pig as Kleeg. Finally the irate meat man took a clever to van Gogh and chased him through Rotterdam, until someone threw a wooden shoe at his head giving the butcher second degree splinters.
Anguished, van Gogh sat in a bed of tulips, eating all the yellow flowers. When asked “why” he ate them, his only response was “because there were no red ones”.
Was he a raging lunatic, or creative genius? Many questioned his motives. Critics acclaimed his masterpiece, “The Bridge at Arles”, yet no one could figure out why, in the original, he had included a toll booth.
Seurat and Cezanne would cross the street as he approached. Once cornered by him, Pissarro could only smile and nod. Van Gogh’s wily greeting would be merely, “Hey Camille, pull my thumb!”
Schizophrenia was apparent. He believed he saw a man in a white coat hanging around his building, until it dawned on him that he lived above a bakery.
Thinking he was a master from the Italian Renaissance, he would now sign his next thirty-six paintings, “Vinnie”.
Van Gogh began a life of debauchery, womanizing, drinking and once at his lowest point, he even thought of voting Republican.
Vincent became increasingly jealous of other success. He was puzzled. Monet was getting rave reviews, but Manet was constantly complaining for being mistaken for Monet. Van Gogh yelled at the latter and suggested he shut up and change his name to Scanlon.
Impressionism was getting the best of him. His brush stokes became violent, his colors loud and coarse, also the Cote-du-Sur was giving him exema.
In the spring of 1888, van Gogh’s brother, Theo had him committed to the asylum at St. Remy, after he caught the artist attempting to paint “Starry Night” with a roller.
He then admitted his biggest scandal to the authorities. His most successful work “The Potato Eaters” was a fraud. Embarrassed, the artist revealed that, at the time, his subjects, the potato eaters, were actually eating turnip.
Vincent remained locked up until he was found not to be a threat to society, and also that he complete the mandatory hospital course on Ballroom Dancing.
Soon after his release, van Gogh contracted a number of highly questionable diseases, as well as dandruff.
His long time feud with fellow artist Paul Gaugin raged, and they had a severe fist fight after van Gogh suggested that Gaugin cover up portraits of his bare chested Tahitian beauties with coconut shells.
The argument led to the severing of van Gogh’s ear. At which point the disturbed artist wrapped it in a hanky and delivered it to the local prostitute, who immediately gave it back to Vincent, claiming the ear had wax.
Heartbroken and rejected, van Gogh shot himself in the chest on July 27,1890, which seemed strange even to him, because he was aiming for his head.
Experts have speculated what made van Gogh odd. Some say mental illness, some say the lead in his paints; however, his brother Theo thinks it was the time their mother used Vincent’s face to mop the kitchen floor.