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Artistic Depression

  1. Jul 9, 2007 #1
    Do you think an artists work can be affected by their depression or mental illness?
    I am doing a project for A level and would love as many different views as possible :)
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  3. Jul 9, 2007 #2
    Yes, DEFINITELY. Many artists have suffered from mental illness, depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, all of which have profound effects on the work. The symptoms of the disease have a direct negative impact, but having the illness to begin with may very well be the source of the artist's creativity as well as his suffering. Suicides and drug overdoses are legion among artists.

    Kay Redfield Jamison has written a number of very good books on the subject, among them Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. She herself is manic depressive and a well-known professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Jul 10, 2007 #3

    Chi Meson

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    I think Wordsworth wrote an essay on the subject of "melancholy" and how it was the true poetic state of mind.
  5. Jul 11, 2007 #4
    thanks for the help! :smile:
  6. Jul 11, 2007 #5


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    Van Halen's album Fair Warning is the darkest, and many attribute it to Eddie Van Halen's personal struggles, trying to keep the band together, and his addiction to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  7. Jul 11, 2007 #6


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    Come on, there's no rock'n'roll without these. :biggrin:

    Kidding. Isn't Van Gogh another fruitful example?
  8. Jul 11, 2007 #7
    Thanks for the help. i was heading towards painters instead of musicians as my project is for art, lol, if anyone else has any views, please post them :)
  9. Jul 12, 2007 #8
    I don't remember who said it, but I remember someone saying that their teenage years were the best because it was the most awkward, painful, and emotional years of their life... and that gave them the most inspiration for their art.

    So, yeah, I think it makes sense that an artist would have some issues eh? Art is about expression... if you're just normal you don't have a heck of a lot to express...
  10. Jul 12, 2007 #9
    carlo gesualdo was literally a psycho killer & he wrote some of the most expressive music of the renaissance.

    people think beethoven had bipolar disorder & there were composers during the renaissance whose families & friends died from the plague. that would probably affect someone's mood a bit. :uhh:
  11. Jul 14, 2007 #10
    if anyone else has any views on painters being affected my mental illness, please post. thanks for the help so far! :)
  12. Jul 14, 2007 #11
    Christian Ferras was an extraordinary violinst in the 60´s and he suffered of a continious depression wich finished in suicide. You can see how the pils (? pastillas in spanish, i dont know the translation to english)against the depression made him look fat and slow. Is wonderful his interpretation of the sibelius concert with Zubi Metha : (For me is possible the best interpretation ever made)

    A young prodigy of the violin, Josef Hassid suffered schizophrenia at the early age of 18,and he was placed in a psychiatric hospital; he was one of the most talented young prodigies and he died at the age of 27 as a result of a lobotomy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  13. Jul 14, 2007 #12
    i am actually looking for painters in art with a mental illness, as i have said before, not musicians, but thanks anyway! :)
  14. Jul 18, 2007 #13
    anyone else have any views? :)
  15. Jul 18, 2007 #14
    I would suggest you look into philosophy, Nietzsche in particular, and his idea that suffering was an intrinsic part of growth; but also existentialism, Sartre et al. They tend to be quite interesting on the subject of depression and suffering.

    Sartre for example once said that anyone who hasn't considered suicide is not intellectually sound. I'm paraphrasing, but the existentialist philosophers have explored the meaningless of existence and the irrational nature of human thought in a great deal of detail, might help although it's a little morbid, try Nausea by Sartre, aptly explores how human thought can lead you to the brink of insanity, but also acknowledges the art of such thoughts.


    Just reading that link he actually refused the Nobel prize for literature, interesting.

    EDIT: oh and also Nietzsche, in his later years was said by some to be suffering from syphilis which may have lead to his more unusual work later in life, as the disease is characterised by insanity in the advanced stages.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  16. Aug 18, 2007 #15
    i am looking for peoples individual opinion on whether or not you think a painters work can be affected by their mental illness, anyone who has their own views please post it will be much appreciated! :)
  17. Aug 18, 2007 #16
    Sure, artists get depressed, but there's easy ways to cheer them up:

  18. Aug 18, 2007 #17

    Math Is Hard

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    It's amazing how well that works, too!
  19. Aug 18, 2007 #18
    Google images> sock puppet. Last one on the right, top row gives the term new meaning.
  20. Aug 18, 2007 #19

    Math Is Hard

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    :bugeye: That would also work to cheer up an artist - depending on the artist, of course.
  21. Aug 18, 2007 #20
    Well, get your sock puppets out and cheer me up by saying some nice things about my drawing of Violet.
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