In the context of post-Impressionism, Vincent Van Gogh provides a tender counterpoint to the duo of the solitary, difficult Cezanne and the hostile, cynical Gauguin. His legendary–and considerable–medical problems should not overshadow the incredible spirituality and intense humanitarianism documented in his hundreds of articulate, intelligent, sensitive letters to his art dealer brother Theo. It is easy, but ultimately misguided, to view and interpret van Gogh's painting in light of his psychological condition–the strong evidence of his letters indicates that he worked during lucid periods as well. He was able to discuss his work on a high intellectual and rational analytical level with his brother and his friends. More accurate than the notion that his art was produced by his psychological crises is the understanding of his art as the catalyst for his psychological collapse. Vincent
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