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Rediscovering Van Gogh

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 12:30–5:00 p.m.
Gartner Auditorium

VAN GOGH WEEK—SYMPOSIUM

In the popular imagination, Vincent van Gogh was the archetype of the modern bohemian artist: a tortured genius whose brilliant yet uncontrollable talent led to tragedy and suicide. Although he struggled with physical and psychiatric affiliations, to reduce his life and work to this sensationalized view is to overlook the sensitive and intelligent artist revealed through careful study of his paintings and letters. Join experts in art history and neuroscience as they delve into this remarkable artist’s life and work, with particular concern for what medical studies now reveal about the relationship between creativity, bipolar disorder, and suicide.

Free; registration required. Your symposium registration allows entry to all sessions. Advance registration for exhibition entry during the symposium is also highly recommended (exhibition entry is free to CMA members; $15 non-members). Call (216) 421-7350 or visit tickets.clevelandart.org.

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

SESSION I
Gartner Auditorium
12:30–1:45

What Have We Learned about Vincent? Lingering Issues and Questions
William H. Robinson, PhD, is the curator and author of Van Gogh Repetitions (Yale University Press, 2013) and the curator of Modern European Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He is a widely-published author of scholarly books and essays on modern art of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Rembrandt and Japan: Van Gogh in Arles
Van Gogh’s year-long sojourn in Arles, 1888/89, is defined by his focused exploration of the expressive possibilities of his art. Cornelia Homburg, internationally renowned art historian and Van Gogh scholar, explores the ways in which Van Gogh made inventive use of two important models: Japanese art with its exotic and aesthetic qualities that played such an important role in vanguard circles, and Dutch 17th century art—in particular the work of Rembrandt—which was much admired in 19th century France. Cornelia Homburg, PhD, has curated three Van Gogh exhibitions, including Van Gogh Up Close (2012).

SESSION II
Gartner Auditorium
2:00–3:00

A Troubled Diagnosis: Maniac Depressive Illness, Suicide, and Creative Temperament
William H. Robinson, PhD

Van Gogh: A Medical History of Bipolar Disorder and Suicide
Dr. Calabrese examines the controversial question of whether or not Van Gogh suffered from bipolar disorder, a hereditary condition formerly known as maniac-depressive illness. If this diagnosis is correct, what effect did the disorder have on the artist’s life and creative achievements? Dr. Joseph Calabrese is Director of the Bipolar Research Center, Mood Disorders Program, University Hospitals, Cleveland, and a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

RECEPTION
Ames Family Atrium
3:00–3:30

Enjoy light refreshments in the Atrium and meet the symposium’s speakers.

SESSION III
Gartner Auditorium
3:30–5:00

Panel Discussion
Hypomania, Mania, Suicide, and the Creative Arts: Diagnosis & Treatment

Presenters: Joseph Calabrese, Kimberly Emmons, William H. Robinson

Dr. Calabrese opens the panel discussion with a presentation about the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, its relationship to the creative temperament, and its management and treatment.

Dr. Calabrese is joined on the panel by Kimberly Emmons, Associate Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University and author of Black Dogs and Blue Words: Depression and Gender in the Age of Self-Care (2010), an award-winning book that explores the linguistic and rhetorical constructions of mental illness.

Moderated by William H. Robinson, the panel will address such questions as how medications may alter artistic productivity. The panelists invite the audience to participate by sharing their own comments and questions about the relationship between creativity and mental illness.