Today is Vincent’s birthday.  Never known for his cheerful, easy going way, Vincent Van Gogh was in a constant battle to find balance in his life.  It is instructive that he painted so many self portraits-I think in addition to studying light and technique it was a study of “self.”  In the 30 or more portraits, you can almost track his decline in mental health and his rise as an artist.

A recent study revealed a cache of 90 million selfies on Instagram.  Digital photography has made it simple for us to create self-portraits on a whim.  In a display of ironic humor, here are a few photos of our birthday boy making self portraits in a snap.

Van Gogh painted over 30 self portraits from 1886-1889-placing him squarely as most prolific painter of self for all time. He would have loved the digital age of selfies.

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One can’t think of Van Gogh and not think of the devastating toll depression took on his life.  Out of that chaos came some of the most beloved art of all time-Starry Night was created while he was confined to a mental institution-it was the view outside his window.  The quintessential tortured artist, Van Gogh’s last words as he lay mortally wounded from a self inflicted gun shot:  “The sadness will last forever.”