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Vincent van Gogh

Theories of Personality

Krystle Leininger

on 8 December 2014

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Transcript of Vincent van Gogh

- Father: Theodorus van Gogh - a country minister
- Mother: Anna Cornelia - an artist
- First son was stillborn March 30, 1852 - also named Vincent
Born March 30, 1853 in The Netherlands
- Younger siblings:
- Anna Cornelia
- Theo
- Elizabeth
- Willemina
- Cornelis
Birth Order &
Family Constellation
People's perception of how they fit into their family is related to their style of life.
Early Recollections
- A gravestone with his name and birthday was a constant reminder that he was living in the shadow of dead older brother
- Described as melancholy from an early age
- Rejected over and over again
- Romance
- Career
- Ministry

- It's possible that he believed his parents never truly accepted him as the son he was as he continuously experienced rejection throughout his life.
Social Interest
-1881 (27yrs)- moved back with parents and began to teach himself how to draw
-Worked to master perspective, shading and anatomy through experimenting with various styles, techniques and mediums.
- Earliest pieces depicted peasant life- attrubuted to his past work with the miners of Borinage.
-Much of his beginning work was mirrored after paintings of peasant life of the French artist Jean-Franquois Millet.
Vincent van Gogh
- Unknown early education
- Encouraged by mother to paint
- At age 15 or 16 was forced to leave school in order to work to help the family financially
- Worked at uncle's art dealership
- At age 20 moved to London and fell in love with art, English culture and landlady's daughter (who rejected him)
- Began pursuing life in ministry and at age 25 ministered to coal miners in Belgium
-worked on mastering weathered hands, heads and anatomical features of peasants (1881)
- Vincent identified more with peasant life than the religious background he was raised in.
-Supported by his brother Theo (art dealer) but received lack of interest, support and confidence from his father.
-Vincent turned from the study of religious practices and dedicated his life vigorously to the arts.
Potato Eaters (1885) would only become a great success after his lifetime.
Success and Superiority

-The one dynamic force behind people's behavior is the striving for success or superiority.
-All motivation comes from this single drive.
-Everyone begins life with physical deficiencies that activate feelings of inferiority.
-Through facing rejection in various areas of his life (father's approval and admittance to several theology programs), Vincent was motivated to strive for superiority and success through his artistic ability in the art world (creative power).
-Psychologically unhealthy individuals (which Vincent evidently becomes) seek for personal superiority- Vincent strives to be recognized as a talented and successful artist.

Personal Superiority

-His inability to accomplish his "purpose" during his life time lead to emotional issues such as depression, large amounts of self doubt and manic behaviors.
-Vincent had little concern for others as he gave his life in obsession to his work.
-Through his financial struggles and continuous inability to sell his work, Van Gogh's self doubt increased (pushing him to develop an inferiority complex).
-Van Gogh compensated for these feelings of inferiority by establishing fictionalism in his style of life through his art work. Van Gogh lived in his work and used it as an escape from his mental and relational issues.
-Adler would have described Van Gogh as being one who was unified and self-consistent- one's thoughts, feelings, and actions were all directed toward a single goal and served a single purpose- success and superiority within the art world.
-In 1888 the first signs of Van Gogh's mental illness began to take hold.
-Suffered from unpredictable attacks of epilepsy, psychotic attacks and delusions.
-One episode involved him attempting to attack and threaten Gauguin (a fellow artist and friend) with a knife.
-Cut off his ear and offered it to a prostitute as a gift.
-Hospitalized- in and out of an asylum for the rest of his short life.
-Unable to paint for long periods of time without suffering from an attack, Van Gogh managed to create one of his greatest pieces.
-Through interacting with the vibrant artwork of Rubens, encouragement from his brother Theo and being exposed to various Japanese artist, Vincent dropped his style of dark colors and adopted brighter an more vibrant colors.
-It was during this time of frequent hospitalization that Vincent created his most popular work "Starry Night". This piece would go on to become one of his most influential pieces in history.
Significant relationships
Theo Van Gogh
-Paid for Vincent to take art classes
-Emotional and financial support
-Was deeply effected by Vincent's death, so much that he died 6 months later
He struggled emotionally his whole life but towards the end of his life his mental illness become worse.
"Despite his creative achievements, the artist thought of his life as terribly wasted, and a personal failure. On July, 27, 1890 he attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest and died two days later from the wound" he was
37 years old.
Paul Gauguin
-Became friends in Paris
-Was paid by Theo to visit Vincent in his yellow house
-Helped take care of Vincent physically and encouraged him to move beyond only painting objects right in front of him
-Argued constantly and their friendship ended after Vincent threatened him and then cut his own hear off
Van Gogh and Gauguin did not see eye to eye, but Vincent seemed to need his company. When Van Gogh threatened Gauguin it was concerning Gauguin's intentions to leave
Conscious and Unconscious
Road with Cypress and Star
Self Portraits
Mulberry Tree (1889)
Blossoming Almond Tree (1890)
The Night Cafe (1888)
Cafe Terrace (1888)
Wheatfield with Cypressess (1889)
Adler says that people are what they make of themselves. They have the ability to be either psychologically healthy or unhealthy
Abnormal Development
Vincent has high goals for himself
Lived an isolated life (although he would express to his brother Theo his loneliness)
He had very set views about life
He was focused with his own life which shows his lack of social interest. Adler would say that lack of social interest and over concern with oneself produces failure
For Adler Maladjustment comes from exaggerated physical deficiencies, pampered style of life and neglected style of life
They see society as enemy and feel alienated from other people
Strong sense of envy toward others
They can be suspicious and more likely to be dangerous to others

At the End
After Vincent was hospitalized when he cut his ear off his mental health started to decline to the point where he was painting at his house during the day and sleeping at the hospital at night
The people in his town signed a petition stating that Van Gogh was dangerous (he then moved)
Born with a brain lesion
Often sick
Suffered from seizures
Was known to have sipped on turpentine and eaten led paint
To cope with his physical pain and depression he often drank absinthe-a toxic alcoholic drink.
A possible side effect of this toxic drink was seeing things in yellow
"Perhaps death is not the hardest thing in a painter's life...Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn't the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star"
--Vincent Van Gogh
Adler's safeguarding tendency of aggression can be seen this relationship. Van Gogh felt the need to protect himself from being alone and being disgraced.
Neglected style of life
Exaggerated Physical Deficiencies
Adler says all are blessed with physical deficiencies which lead to feeling inferiority. With exaggerated physical deficiencies develop exaggerated feelings of inferiority to overcompensate for their inability.
Overly concerned with themselves and lack concern for others
They fear defeat more than they desire success
With his relationships with his Brother and with Gauguin we can see Van Gogh's concern with himself and his desire his to be physically cared for.
"close friends are truly life's treasure. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honestly, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us we are never really alone"
--Vincent Van Gogh
Adler believed the conscious and unconscious must be unified for there to be harmony in ones personality
"Conscious thoughts are those that are understood and regarded by the individual as helpful in striving for success, whereas unconscious thoughts are not helpful"
Gauguin's leaving & his community kicking him out would have played into Van Gogh's unconscious feeling of not being accepted or wanted
His under developed social interest from childhood also would have contributed to him leading an unhealthy style of life and ultimately taking his life as an adult.
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