There are so many disabled artists who rocked the world with their creative flair. Throughout history, some of the most influential artists have been disabled. We list three innovators to galvanize your own creative thinking.
Vincent van Gogh
Having sold only one painting during his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh is now one of the most iconic painters of the 20th century with his lauded landscapes, flowers and self-portraits.
We all know the infamous story of this post-impressionist painter cutting off his own ear, but did you know he had temporal lobe epilepsy and suspected bipolar disorder? He was born with a brain lesion made more severe through his extensive absinthe intake. To treat his seizures, his physician prescribed him a medicine made from the dried leaves of foxgloves. One common side effect of digitalis is that you see yellow spots. Some art historians argue this is why Van Gogh used so much yellow in his paintings.
In recent years Frida Kahlo has become a style icon. Frida was considered one of Mexico’s greatest painters. She is known for her surrealist, magical realism self-portraits.
Kahlo had polio as a child and had been training to go to medical school. At 18 she got caught in a catastrophic bus accident which fractured Kahlo’s ribs, both her legs and her collarbone. This accident caused her pain and illness for the rest of her life; however, it prompted her to change direction professionally. Instead of training to become a doctor, she became an internationally celebrated artist.
Her paintings are instantly recognizable, with their phantasmagorical. All are earthy symbolism detailing Mexican artifacts, nature, roots, hair, animals, and medical imagery. Her revolutionary ideas sear through her paintings, illustrating her intricate personal philosophy on feminism, colonialism, identity, gender, race, and social class in Mexico.
Francisco Goya is known as one of the best portrait painters in history. But biographers divide his paintings into two periods. One is before and another after his illness. Experts believe that Goya mainly suffered from neurological problems. He experienced headaches, dizziness, hearing loss, visual problems. Even mobility issues in his right arm.
There were a lot of factors that may have contributed to Goya’s ill health. Firstly, to treat syphilis he used ointments made with mercury a poisonous substance. And, many of the paints that he worked with on a daily basis contained lead.