Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 237–257 | Cite as

Vincent Van Gogh, son of the manse: A portrait in self-psychology

  • Charles N. DavidsonJr.


Born into a dynasty of Dutch art dealers as well as the family of a Dutch Calvinist pastor, Vincent Van Gogh's turbulent and conflicted personality is the focus of a psychological interpretation beginning and ending with selections taken from the literary letters of the artist himself. The psychodynamic SelfPsychology of Heinz Kohut provides the theoretical framework for considering the tragic and redeeming aspects of this nineteenth century artistic genius and master Pre-Expressionist who painted the world as he experienced it. The reader may wish to accompany the story with a favorite collection of Van Gogh's drawings and paintings as a way of obtaining a deeper appreciation for the person known among art critics and school children alike as not only unforgettably strange and utterly fascinating, but wonderfully profound.


Nineteenth Century School Child Cross Cultural Psychology Deep Appreciation Conflict Personality 
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  4. Roskill, M. (Ed.). (1963).The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  5. Wheldon, K. (1989).Van Gogh. New York: Gallery Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles N. DavidsonJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Farmington Hills

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