Tattoo Ideas: Famous Works of Art
It's no secret that most artists are insane, or that brilliance borders madness. Some of the most ingenious people I've met have been completely off their rocker, and yet more often than not, it tends to be these people who produce the most amazing works of art and inspiring volumes of fiction.
Virginia Woolf, who created literary works like Mrs. Dalloway, and Sylvia Plath, who deftly crafted poem after poem, both suffered from a debilitating depression that would eventually lead to their untimely suicides. Woolf placed heavy rocks in her apron pockets and drowned herself not far from her home. Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven and turned on the gas.
Ernest Hemingway, author of The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms shot himself in the head with a double-barreled shotgun after a number of failed electroconvulsive shock therapy treatments. Painters have a track record that does not fare much better than writers. Vincent Van Gogh, who painted the incredibly famous Starry Night, cut off his own ear during his "blue" period and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest.
What is it about creators that makes them so prone to sadness? I have long thought that the minds of artists must be spread wide open in order to absorb, and thus recreate, their surroundings. Authors are often told to "write about what you know," be aware of your setting, take in every detail, study every nuance, and then record, record, record. But you can't open yourself up to the beauty in the world without also opening up to the inherent sadness, the crime, degradation, and brutality—and if you're not careful, it will seep into your soul.
In exchange for the extreme sensitivity and desperation of these artists, we have received paintings, sculptures, and books of unparalleled value. But at what cost to their creators? Many drowned themselves in alcohol, drugs, or promiscuity, and in the 1800s and 1900s, there was not medical or psychiatric help available like there is today. We are left instead with their artistic remains, remnants of paintings done in the 19th century, beautiful and haunting images that still resonate today.
I am always thrilled beyond explanation when I see a famous work of art replicated in tattoo form on the body of a teenager because I know that if the integrity of the painting has been preserved this long, and if a young man or woman in the 21st century can look at Van Gogh's Starry Night or Dali's melting clocks and still stare in awe, then the art they left behind will continue to leave a lasting effect on the world hundreds of years from now.
Fine Art Tattoo Photo Gallery
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