Why did Van Gogh cut off his ear? What precise illness did he have? And why did he commit suicide? 'On the Verge of Insanity' is the Van Gogh Museum’s first exhibition focusing on Van Gogh and his illness.
15 July - 25 September 2016
On the Verge of Insanity takes you back to the final eighteen months of Van Gogh’s life. Paintings and drawings tell the story of his struggle with his illness.
A recently discovered letter with drawings shows which part of his ear Van Gogh cut off. This ‘ear incident’ is reconstructed in the exhibition based on eyewitness testimony and letters.
Original letters and exceptional archive documents sheds light on Van Gogh’s stay in the hospital and the psychiatric institution. The exhibition also explores Van Gogh’s suicide and the many diagnoses of his illness that have been proposed over the years.
Would you like to discover more about the artworks you’re viewing? Our Multimedia Guide lets you view the exhibition – and the permanent collection – through different eyes.
Available in 11 languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese. You can book the multimedia guide at the same time as your online ticket for only € 5.
The richly illustrated catalogue On the Verge of Insanity. Van Gogh and his illness is written by Nienke Bakker, Louis van Tilborgh, Laura Prins, with the cooperation of Teio Meedendorp and Bregje Gerritse. The authors draw on the latest scholarly research to offer a detailed account of the final eighteen months of Van Goghs life. Available in English, Dutch and French, € 25,-.
The Night of Insanity
Join us at the museum between 7 pm and 2 am on 24 September for The Night of Insanity: a unique evening of discovering more about Van Gogh and his illness. There’s a packed programme in store, featuring music from Lucky Fonz III, a special performance by Nepco, an absinthe bar, a pub quiz, talks, tours and plenty more!
14 and 15 September 2016 the Van Gogh Museum is organising a symposium on Van Gogh’s illness, to coincide with the exhibition On the Verge of Insanity.
From what illness was he suffering? Is it possible to reach an all-embracing diagnosis? Does this information contribute to knowledge on his art? Is there a relationship between madness and creativity? Each topic will be followed by a panel discussion between medical, psychological and art historical experts, and by questions from the audience.
The exhibition On the Verge of Insanity. Van Gogh and his illness is made possible by: