Tattoo Ideas: Famous Works of Art
It's no secret that most artists are insane, or that brilliance borders madness. Some of the 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 deaths. 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. Picasso cut off his own ear during his "blue" period, and Vincent Van Gogh, who painted the infamous "Starry Night" 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 to the inherent sadness, the crime and degradation and brutality and if you're not careful it will seep into your soul.
In exchange for their extreme sensitivity and desperation, we received paintings and sculptures and books of unparalleled value. But at what cost to their creators? Many drowned themselves in alcohol, drugs or promiscuity and in the 1800's and 1900s there was not medical nor 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. And 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.
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