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1 On a beautiful summer day in July 1890 Vincent van Gogh now recognized as one of the worlds most gifted painters went down into the open country of Auvers France and shot himself in the heart with a revolver Martini 3 The man who is now known throughout the world for his revolutionary artistic talent died in his brother Theos arms little known or appreciated in his own time Barnes 17 Van Goghs suicide marked the end of a life-long struggle with mental illness and depression that affected every aspect of his personal and social life His unpredictable sometimes even violent mental and emotional states led to a life of loneliness and isolation preventing van Gogh from achieving much recognition or success in his own lifetime Much of van Goghs inner pain is reflected in his paintings especially in his own self-portraits In fact the fluctuations in van Goghs mental state and mood due to his mental illness directly influenced his choice of color schemes and facial expressions in his self-portraits His Self-Portrait painted in 1887 reflects van Goghs mental excitement and optimistic energy during this very productive period of his life In contrast Van Goghs 1889 Self-Portrait was painted during his darkest period of illness and misery and these qualities are expressed through van Goghs technique His Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear 1889- 90 is a testament to the physical effects of van Goghs illness His Self-Portrait in Front of the Easel 1888 gives a foreshadowing of van Goghs passage from a time relatively free of symptoms to a period of mental pain and turmoil Through his self-portraits van Gogh communicated his pain and sorrow to the viewer creating lasting monuments to his chronic sadness as well as to his phenomenal talent Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30 1853 at Groot Zundert a village in Dutch Brabant He was the eldest son of a Protestant
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