Art Essay Research Paper The most successful

Art Essay, Research Paper

The most successful or famous artists are not always as happy as successful

people are portrayed- living a life of fame, fortune, and glamour. The

following examples will show some of the problems that four different artists

have suffered in the past century.

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch painter who lived from March 30, 1853 to July 29,

1890. He is now one of the most famous painters in modern art (World Book 306).

He only sold one painting in his living days, but now his paintings are

considered priceless.

Some of his paintings and drawings include:

The Bedroom at Arles 1888

Self-Portrait 1888

Vase with 12 Sunflowers 1888

Langlois Bridge with Women Washing 1888

(Sweetman 378)

Those are just a few of his accomplishments, though he has created many, many

more works of art.

In 1888, artist Paul Gaugin moved into Vincent s house with him. At first

everything worked out fine, but within the year, their personalities started to

clash, and big problems arose. Then, on December 23, 1888, Paul Gaugin was

taking a walk in the nearby public garden, when, according to his memoir Avant

et Apres,” Vincent chased after Gaugin with an open razor blade. But, when

Gaugin turned around, Vincent turned and ran home. Gaugin decided that this

threat was too much for him to take, so he checked into a hotel room for the

night. When Paul Gaugin arrived at home the next morning, he saw a crowd of

police officers and citizens surrounding the house. When he went in the house

he saw that there was blood everywhere- on towels and blankets, then a trail

leading up the stairs. When he got to Vincent s bedroom, he found him curled up

on his bed covered in sheets pink with blood. Gaugin thought Vincent was dead,

but when he went to touch his friend s hand, it radiat!

ed warmth from his friend s body (Sweetman 290). Gaugin found out later that

Vincent had cut off almost his whole left ear, wrapped it in newspaper, and

given it to his friend Rachel. He then said Guard this object carefully

(Sweetman 293).

Some reasons speculated for this unusual self-destruction were:

1. Schizophrenia

2. He failed to harm Paul Gaugin so he turned the violence on himself?

3. He was just filled with self-loathing?

It was later discovered that he was tormented by voices and was having

hallucinations. Had he attempted to silence the voices by cutting off the

offending organ? (Sweetman 294)

Vincent van Gogh began having nervous attacks in 1888, and his doctor diagnosed

him with having some sort of epilepsy. He then went back to painting (Sweetman

296). Vincent was fully conscious of his state, and after about four months he

went to live at the asylum of St. Paul-de-Mausole. He left the asylum after a

few months and returned to painting again. But the nervous attacks did not

stop. Then in 1890 when he realized that his epileptic state was incurable, he

committed suicide (Sweetman 303).

On July 27, 1890, Vincent van Gogh attempted suicide- but he didn t die. After

lunch, Vincent went to Chateau d Auvers. He leaned his easel against a

haystack, and went down to the Chateau wall. He held a revolver to his chest,

pulled the trigger, and fainted. When he came to, he searched for the weapon he

had used, but could not find it. So he got up and walked to a friend s house in

town (Sweetman 341). The friends called a doctor, and the doctor dressed the

bullet wound. No vital organ including the heart had been hit. But the doctors

decided that if Vincent wanted to die, they would let him. He was not taken to

a hospital, and the doctors left (Sweetman 342). On July 28, 1890, Theodore,

Vincent s brother came to where Vincent was staying. Though he was in good

condition, as the day wore on, infection set in Because doctors believed that

leaving the wound alone and not taking out the bullet would make it heal faster.

There was a period where suffocation was near as he struggled for breath. When

Theodore realized that his only brother was dying, he got on the bed beside

Vincent and cradled his head in his arms. I wish I could pass away like this,

Vincent said. Half an hour later, his last wish was granted. Vincent van Gogh

died at 1:30 in the morning, July 29, 1890 (Sweetman 343).

James Douglas Morrison was the lead singer in the very popular late 1960 s rock

group The Doors. He was born in 1943, and he died in 1971.

His long list of accomplishments includes his albums:

The Doors January, 1967

Strange Days October, 1967

Waiting for the Sun July, 1968

The Soft Parade July, 1969

Morrison Hotel February, 1970

Absolutely Live July, 1970

13 November, 1970

L.A. Woman April, 1971

These albums were all made with The Doors (Riordan-Prochnicky 515).

On July 2, 1971, Jim and his wife Pamela were sleeping in their Paris apartment,

when Jim awoke coughing and complaining of chest pains, and decided to take a

bath. When Pam woke at about 5 a.m. on July 3, Jim hadn t come back to bed.

She checked in the bathroom and saw him still in the tub. Then she realized the

horrible truth- he was dead (Riordan-Prochnicky 451).

There were many different reasons speculated about the cause of his death:

Respiratory Illness

Blood clots in his lung

Punctured Lungs


Heart Attacks (Riordan-Prochnicky 458)

The official death certificate of Jim Morrison said that he died of heart

failure. But heart failure is not a direct cause of death- it is a result of

something else that causes death (Riordan-Prochnicky 453). Jim s death also may

have been a result of the pressures of being a rock star.

Around June of 1971, Jim Morrison made this statement:

I m 27 years old. This is too old to be a rock singer. It doesn t make sense

anymore. I m so sick of everything. People keep thinking of me as a rock n

roll star and I don t want anything to do with it. I can t stand it anymore

(Riordan-Prochnicky 447).

The cause of Jim Morrison s death remained unknown for years, but one day in the

early 1980 s, an unidentified source came forward and said:

On the night of July 2, 1971,

Pam called a very close friend of mine. She was all in tears and said that Jim

had gotten into her heroin and overdosed. She didn t want that to come out, so

she worked out a plan and covered it up.

This was later confirmed to be the official cause of Jim Morrison s death by

Diane Gardiner, who was Pam Morrison s closest friend at the time of Jim

Morrison s intentional death (Riordan-Prochnicky 458).

Virginia Stephen Woolf was a very talented writer who lived from January 25,

1882 to March 28, 1941.

These are some of the books that she has written:

The Voyage Out 1915

Kew Gardens 1919

Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown 1924

The Common Reader 1925

Orlando 1928

A Letter to a Young Poet 1932

The Common Reader: 2nd Series 1932

The Years 1937

Pointz Hall (Between the Acts) was finished on February 26, 1941. It was

published after her death. She was also awarded the Femina de Heureuse prize in

May of 1928 (Bell 252).

On the morning of March 28, 1941, Virginia wrote both her husband and her sister

letters telling them how important they were to her. She then walked to the

river near her house. Leaving her walking stick on the bank next to the river,

she forced a huge rock into the pocket of her coat. Then she jumped into the

ice cold river- her death (Bell 226). The only known reason of her suicide is

that World War II was going on and this extremely disturbed her. It gave her a

strange mental illness, and she began to hear voices. The voices told her to

end her life so he did- by drowning herself.

Kurt Donald Cobain was the singer and lead guitarist in the band Nirvana. He

was born February 20, 1967, and he died April 8, 1994.

Some of his accomplishments include his 5 albums:

Bleach June, 1989

Blew December, 1989

Nevermind September, 1991

Incesticide December, 1992

In Utero September, 1993

These albums were all made by Kurt and the other two members of Nirvana.

Nirvana has also contributed some of their songs to other albums:

Mexican Seafood on Teriyaki Asthma Vol. 1, November, 1989.

Do You Love Me on Kiss tribute album Hard to Believe.

Beeswax on Kill Rock Stars compilation, August, 1991.

Return of the Rat on Eight Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers, June, 1992.

Verse, Chorus, Verse on No Alternative compilation, 1993 (Azzerad 357).

Before Kurt Cobain actually committed suicide, he attempted it once in a hotel

in Rome, Italy, in March of 1994. He fell into a coma after ingesting a

reported 50 tablets of Rohypnol, which is a powerful depressant. He was very

close to death in the coma, but he came out of it and lived (Azzerad 344).

Around April 6, 1994 Kurt Cobain s mother filed a missing person report on Kurt

when he ran away from a California treatment facility. She said that he had

bought a shotgun and he may be suicidal. Then, on April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain

was found shot to death in his home in Seattle, Washington. Gary Smith was an

electrician who had come to the house of Kurt Cobain, Kurt s wife Courtney Love,

and their daughter Francis Bean Cobain to install a security system, when he

found Kurt s body in the second floor of the garage with a suicide note nearby.

Smith called the police, and the police could not identify the body, but they

took him to a hospital and a doctor there identified the body to be that of Kurt

Cobain (Maples 7).

Kurt Cobain supposedly had many problems in his life. Some medical problems

were an incurable stomach pain, chronic bronchitis, and scoliosis. But, there

were many reasons that were theorized for his suicide. He was depressed


a) His band was on the verge of breaking up.

b) His marriage to Courtney Love was on the rocks.

But the reason that many of his fans have found believable was the fact that he

had re-entered his heroin habit that he had just recently overcome. This was so

devastating to him that he just couldn t take it and took the easiest way out-

suicide (Maples 7).

These artists all have gone to the extreme of committing suicide. And though

many of their works have been exemplary, the endings of their lives definitely

were not.


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