Cannabis and Creativity: How Van Gogh Used Marijuana to Create Timeless Art

January 01, 2023

Cannabis and Creativity: How Van Gogh Used Marijuana to Create Timeless Art - Sacred Surreal

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous and beloved artists in history. His paintings are known for their vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes, and he remains an enduring figure in popular culture. But, one aspect of van Gogh's life that is not as well-known is his fondness for smoking weed and hash. 

There is evidence to suggest that van Gogh was a frequent 420 user during his lifetime. In a letter to his brother Theo, van Gogh wrote, "I have found out that it is absolutely necessary for me to work in series. Now I am working on a series of excesses: one must be crazy to want to do this! Well, I am not in the least crazy, but it is true that I am not entirely normal either. I am very much on edge, I find it difficult to keep my balance, and I have taken up smoking as a means of calming my nerves."

Van Gogh's use of the sacred herb was likely a way for him to cope with intense stress and anxiety that he often experienced. He seemed to suffer from what we'd call depression today, and was prone to fits of anger and agitation. It's possible that he turned to cannabis as a way to chill and  peace out. He was Dutch, after all. 

Van Gogh Skeleton Painting

There are also indications that van Gogh used cannabis to help him with his art, and was, by all indications, a stoner artist. In a letter to his friend Paul Gauguin, van Gogh wrote, "I am working on a portrait of the people at the brothel, and in the evening I smoke a pipe of hashish. The effect is to make the colors more brilliant." Here, Van Gogh seems to be suggesting that cannabis helped him to see the world in a more vibrant and colorful way, which may have influenced the way he depicted it in his paintings.

It is worth noting that van Gogh's use of cannabis was not without its drawbacks. He struggled with habituation and found himself relying on weed to emotionally carry him through the day. This, combined with his already fragile mental state, may have contributed to his eventual breakdown and institutionalization. However, that's mere speculation. 

One thing that's beyond dispute is that van Gogh found some solace and inspiration in cannabis. It is likely that his use of the herb played a role in the development of his unique artistic style and helped him to cope with the mental and emotional challenges he faced throughout his life.

 



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