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J Hist Neurosci. 2004 Mar;13(1):22-43.

The illness of Vincent van Gogh.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KA 66160-7421, USA. warnold@kumc.edu

Abstract

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a wonderfully accomplished artist whose work is now widely appreciated. He created a great number of masterpiece paintings and drawings in just one decade devoted to art. His productivity is even more remarkable when considered in the context of his debilitating illness. He suffered from medical crises that were devastating, but in the intervening periods he was both lucid and creative. He left a profound, soul-searching description of his jagged life in his correspondence, which provides the basis for the present analysis. An inherited metabolic disease, acute intermittent porphyria, accounts for all of the signs and symptoms of van Gogh's underlying illness. On this 150th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh it is appropriate to revisit the subject and to analyze the lack of organized skepticism in the popular media about other diagnoses.

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PMID:
15370335
DOI:
10.1080/09647040490885475
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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