Vincent van Gogh’s life and work are so intertwined that it is hardly possible to see his
pictures without reading in them the story of his life, a life which has been described so many times that it is by now the stuff of legend. Van Gogh is the incarnation of the suffering, the misunderstood martyr of modern art, the emblem of the artist as an outsider.
“When one lives with others and is bound by feelings of affection, then one realises that one has a reason for living, that one may not be utterly worthless and expendable, but is perhaps good for something, since we need one another and are journeying together as compagnons de voyage. But our proper sense of self-esteem is also highly dependent upon our relationship with others.
A prisoner who is condemned to solitude, who is prevented from working, etc., will in the long run, especially if the run is too long, suffer from the effects as surely as one who has gone hungry too long.
Like everyone else, I need friendly or affectionate relationships or intimate companionship, and am not made of stone or iron like a pump or a lamppost…”