"Artists of the past often suffered poor physical and mental health due to the materials they worked with: lead, powdered pigment, turpentine, carcinogens, etc. We know Vincent van Gogh put paint in his mouth. Clinical pathologist Dr. Paul Wolf of the University of California cites that illnesses, rather than being obstacles, can be the paths to genius. He mentioned the likes of Einstein, Warhol, Newton, Cezanne, Goya, Michelangelo, Turner and Berlioz. According to Wolf, these folks suffered varying degrees of depression, autism, myopia, anxiety, chronic pain, gout, stroke and dementia.
|Portrait of Michaelangelo by Raphael|
Historically speaking, we artists have been through a hundred years where "artist" has been aligned with "nut case." It hasn't always been so. I, for one, am working to have this current connection declared null and void. Actually, clear-sighted individuals with no known diseases may be the ones who are doing most of the good work.
Today, in our "safe" world of food and drug administrations, we may not be taking as many precautions as we might. Artists like Michelangelo and da Vinci certainly knew they were working with nasty chemicals because they prepared their own. They were very much aware of lead poisoning. Indeed, the fall of the Roman Empire had a lot to do with drinking water supplied through lead pipes. But it does stand to reason that a lot of painters died early because they didn't protect themselves from the ingestion of toxic lead-based paint--particularly through their skins."
|Da Vinci's self portrait in red chalk|