- Van Gogh, Vincent Willem
- (1853-1890)A Dutch post-impressionist painter who suffered from severe headaches, * nightmares, epileptic seizures, * tinnitus, hallucinations, and other * perceptual disturbances, who cut off his left ear lobe, and who shot himself in 1890. The hallucinations van Gogh experienced included *verbal and *nonverbal auditory hallucinations, *musical hallucinations, and * visual hallucinations. The etiology of these phenomena has been heavily debated. In the literature no less than 30 different diagnoses have been suggested, including * schizophrenia, neurosyphilis, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, temporal lobe epilepsy, alcoholism, *absinthism, tuberculous meningoencephalitis, acute intermittent por-phyria, Meniere's disease, brain tumour, and sunstroke. The use of brilliant yellow tones in van Gogh's paintings has been interpreted as a reaction to episodic * xanthopsia (i.e. yellow vision), possibly caused by digitalis intoxication. The halos surrounding the stars in the painting The Starry Night have been interpreted as an indication that van Gogh may have experienced * halo vision.ReferencesArnold, W.N. (1988). Vincent van Gogh and the thujone connection. Journal of the American Medical Association, 260, 3042-3044.Arnold, W.N. (1992). Vincent van Gogh: Chemicals, crises, and creativity. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.