Contest #566: Monastère Saint-Paul de Mausoleum in Saint Rémy de Provence, France

As most people know, Vincent Van Gogh was a tortured individual. By the winter of 1888, had developed what he thought was a mutually beneficial professional relationship with fellow painter Paul Gauguin. Gauguin thought himself a superior artist and was also under the impression that the Van Gogh brothers were trying to exploit the wealthier man. A series of arguments and perceived slights by Gauguin to Vincent had caused Van Gogh to be more and more unstable mentally, which exploded in madness in December of 1888.

On that cold winter night in a hotel in Arles, Vincent Van Gogh used a razor to cut off his left ear. He packaged the severed ear and delivered it to his favorite prostitute (this is often mistakenly thought of that he cut off the ear for unrequited love for the prostitute). He was treated by local physician Félix Rey and to show his gratitude, Van Gogh painted Dr. Rey and gave the painting to the subject. Dr. Rey didn’t particularly care for it, and he used it to fix a hole in his chicken coop before giving the canvas away. In 2016 that painting is lovingly maintained at a Moscow museum and is valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000,000.

Portrait of Doctor Félix Rey — That’s one expensive hunk of building materials

But I digress.

Vincent was encouraged by his brother Theo and others to seek help for his mental issues. He acquiesced and entered the St. Paul-de-Mausole asylum in May, 1889. From his cell in the in the hospital, he looked out his window and created this masterpiece:

Starry Night

If you are as Van Gogh obsessed as I am, I heartily recommend two interesting takes on the end of his life. The first is the wonderful novel “Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art” by Christopher Moore. Moore is a completely irreverent author who sets off with a pair of investigators that includes Henri Toulouse-Lautrec as they try to find the truth behind his supposed “suicide”.

The second is a magnificent film from last year titled “Loving Vincent”. This film was entirely hand painted in the mode of Van Gogh. The imagery is stunning.

Those who found this site before the hint were:

  • hhgygy
  • Walter_V_R
  • Paul Voestermans
  • Garfield
  • Martin de Bock
  • Phil Ower
  • Jesus Rodriguez
  • Abcdefg Hijkl

And after the hint:

  • Ben S
  • Hilde Lambeir
  • Rob de Wolff
  • Yakubi Dergahi
  • David Kozina
  • Sarah G.
  • BC11