A man of great sensitivity – but no woman was ready to love him, because he looked crazy. Nobody was buying his paintings, and still he went on painting. His brother was employed – his younger brother – and was sending van Gogh the exact amount of money so that he could have his food every day. Each week he would send money – enough for one week only. And Vincent van Gogh would only eat four days in the week, and three days he would fast and purchase canvases and paints. And nobody was buying his paintings. People were simply laughing and saying, “He is simply mad! We have never seen such paintings. What is he doing?”
But it seems whatever he was doing is going to come true, slowly, slowly. If his vision of stars is now confirmed by physics, it is simply a miracle that with bare eyes, he could see that they are spirals. Nobody in the whole of history has even thought about it, so you cannot think that he borrowed the thought from somebody. Nobody has seen stars like that. And he could not prove anything; he simply went on saying, “This is how I see them.” But everybody laughed, because they also could see the stars but they didn’t see spirals.
This tremendous sensitivity…but he was misunderstood everywhere. And finally. when he was only thirty-three, they drove him mad. Hungry, starving, and everybody laughing and condemning…not a single painting was sold. His brother tried to send a man with money and said, “At least purchase one painting. He will have the consolation that somebody has purchased one painting.”
The man went – he had no idea about painting. Van Gogh was so ecstatic that somebody had come finally to purchase a painting – so he was showing him all his paintings. And the man said, “Don’t waste my time – any will do. This is the money.”
You can understand how much van Gogh would have been shocked. He simply said, “That means this money has been given to you by my brother – because you are not even looking at the paintings. I cannot sell any painting to you. These paintings are not for people who cannot understand them. And just tell my brother never to do such a thing to me – it hurts more.” And it was found actually that that was the case.
Van Gogh died without selling a single painting. Now only two hundred paintings have survived, and each painting is worth not less that one million dollars; each painting has a certain quality that has never been found in any other painting.
He became mad, but he continued to paint even while he was mad; in his madhouse he continued to paint. Even the paintings he has done in the madhouse are tremendously beautiful. Perhaps he was not mad; perhaps he was simply forced by the medical profession and other painters to feel that he was doing mad things.
After one year he was released, because he was absolutely nonviolent; he created no trouble for anybody, he simply continued to paint. In fact he was not willing to leave because it was far easier in the hospital. The hospital was paying everything for his paintings, and he was getting food for seven days, so this was far easier than to be outside.