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Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who galvanized readers with their Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Jackson Pollock, have written one other travel de force—an exquisitely special, compellingly readable portrait of Vincent van Gogh. operating with the complete cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of formerly untapped fabrics to deliver a very important figuring out to the larger-than-life mythology of this nice artist: his early struggles to discover his position on the earth; his excessive dating along with his brother Theo; and his flow to Provence, the place he painted many of the best-loved works in Western artwork. The authors additionally shed new mild on many unexplored elements of Van Gogh’s internal global: his erratic and tumultuous romantic lifestyles; his bouts of melancholy and psychological disease; and the cloudy conditions surrounding his dying on the age of thirty-seven.
although numerous books were written approximately Van Gogh, no severe, bold exam of his lifestyles has been tried in additional than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh’s existence with an awesome vividness and mental acuity that carry a very new and sympathetic realizing to this targeted creative genius.
Praise for Van Gogh: The Life
“Magisterial.”—Michiko Kakutani, the recent York Times
“This generation’s definitive portrait of the nice Dutch post-Impressionist.”—Time
“A journey de strength . . . a big fulfillment . . . examining his lifestyles tale is like driving an unending curler coaster of delusional highs and lows. . . . [A] sweepingly authoritative, astonishingly textured book.”—Los Angeles Times
“Marvelous . . . [Van Gogh] reads like a singular, jam-packed with suspense and intimate element. . . . In appealing prose, Naifeh and Smith argue convincingly for a subtler, extra practical evaluate of Van Gogh, and all of us win.”—The Washington Post
“Brilliant . . . right away a version of scholarship and an emotive, pacy bite of hagiography.”—The day-by-day Telegraph (London)

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The possibility, now drawing close, of another failure crushed him with guilt. His mom and dad had stretched their meager funds to assist pay for his classes and board, including hundreds of thousands extra guilders to a life of expenses. Failure might suggest it had all been wasted. “Money doesn't develop on trees,” Dorus mentioned. “The schooling of our youngsters has been expensive—one greater than the others. ” On one in every of Vincent’s Sunday pilgrimages, in what could have been a determined act of penance, he put his silver watch within the assortment plate. “When i feel of all this,” he wrote, “of the sorrow, the discontentment, the shame … I want I have been far-off from every thing! ” He begged God to “let me whole one major paintings in my existence. ” His letters exhibit a brain all at once long gone darkish with regret and self-reproach. “There is way evil within the world,” he warned, “and in ourselves, bad issues. ” He talked of “the darkish facet of life,” and of his personal “evil self” that shirked paintings and yielded to temptation. He chastised himself for mysterious “days of darkness. ” He insisted that “to be aware of oneself [is] to despise oneself”—a doctrine of self-loathing that he attributed to either Christ and Kempis. while Mendes disputed this interpretation as too harsh, Vincent argued again vehemently: “When we glance at others who've performed greater than we, and are higher than we, we very quickly start to hate our personal existence since it isn't nearly as good as others. ” quite a bit guilt couldn't cross unpunished. in the course of the day, he back to the self-mortifications of his earliest ardor. He ate simply bread—a “crust of black rye bread”—invoking the instance of Elijah and Christ’s guide within the Sermon at the Mount: “Take no idea, announcing, what lets devour, or what lets drink. ” In rain and chilly, he went with no an overcoat. At evening, he disadvantaged himself of sleep with abusive quantities of tobacco and low (“it is an efficient factor to soak oneself in coffee,” he said), then tortured his brief rests via drowsing on his strolling stick. a few nights, he slipped out of the home ahead of the doorways have been locked and slept at the floor in a close-by shed “without mattress or blanket,” in line with Mendes, to whom Vincent confessed this ritual of self-abuse, simply because “he felt that he had forfeited the privilege of spending that evening in mattress. ” The iciness of 1877–78 was once full of storms and sour climate, yet “he most well liked to do it within the winter,” in keeping with Mendes, “so that the punishment … will be extra critical. ” whilst a fair harsher penance used to be referred to as for, Mendes recalled, Vincent might take his jogging stick with mattress and beat himself around the again with it. the mix of strain and deprivation took a poor toll. in response to one kin account, Vincent suffered a “mental breakdown” that iciness. His mom and dad and siblings watched in horror because the handwriting in his letters deteriorated with his brain. “It turned mere pen-strokes with no rhyme or reason,” one in all them recalled, “nothing extra. ” His letters to Theo ranted and raved and wandered incoherently—a signal, might be, that he had already began consuming, or the early eruptions of a deeper, as but undiagnosed disorder.

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