Van Gogh, Vincent
|Art Form||Oil on canvas|
|Keywords||Caregivers, Depression, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Empathy, Impaired Physician, Mental Illness, Suffering|
Dr. Gachet looks beyond the viewer with melancholy gaze. His eyes, drooped with sadness, appear to search resignedly for something in the distance; his skin tone is sallow. He rests his head on one hand, while the other hand rests precariously on the table beside him. Lines of color swim around and through the doctor--a technique distinctive to Van Gogh--all of which are directed almost uniformly towards the top left corner of the painting. Amidst this hubbub of color and energy, the Doctor rests impassively in what seems a commentary on his mental health.
Dr. Gachet and Van Gogh enjoyed a dual relationship as doctor and patient and as friends. Gachet was a great philanthropic supporter of the arts, an amateur artist himself, and a doctor and friend to many Parisian artists of the day. Van Gogh felt particular affinity for him on account of their similar bouts with depression and their dependency on their vocation for emotional and intellectual fulfillment.
|Location of Original||Unknown|
|Alternate Source||The Art of JAMA: One Hundred Covers and Essays from the Journal of the American Medical Association / M. Therese Southgate, editor. St. Louis: Mosby, 1997, p. 110|
|Miscellaneous||Van Gogh painted two versions of this work in 1890. A slightly different version is in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.|
|Annotated by||Bertman, Sandra L.|
|Date of Entry||07/25/06|