Pokemon x Van Gogh Museum, how art can help manage difficult seasons in life

Vincent Van Gogh teaches us that healing remedies, like art, can help manage difficult periods


Have you heard? Pokémon and the Vincent van Gogh Museum are collaborating!

This collaboration marks the 50th anniversary of the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and is aimed to introduce new audiences to the work of Vincent van Gogh.

So why is Van Gogh Museum teaming up with Pokemon ? Apparently, Vincent Van Gogh was rather interested in Japanese art.

“And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention.”

Just like all of us, the quest to be happy was something Van Gogh wanted very much in his life


*Trigger Warning: Mention of Self-harm and Suicide*



Van Gogh was a painter most famously known for his artwork ‘Starry Night’ and ‘Sunflowers’. He had a dream to have his own artists’ community in Arles, France together with his friend, Paul.

However, after a heated argument with Paul, Vincent infamously cut off his ear and was admitted to hospital.

Unable to realise his dream, Vincent suffered from depression and episodes of mood swings, which we now know today as symptom of bipolar disorder.


Vincent recovered from this physical injury but then voluntarily admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy. He was worried about his own mental health and safety and how his actions would affect those around him.

Vincent was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy accompanied by acute insanity (now called psychosis) and hallucinations. He also suffered from insomnia and anxiety which were diagnosed in the official register at the asylum that Van Gogh admitted himself into 1889.

Painting as a remedy

Fortunately, treatment and care from the hospital helped Vincent through this difficult period. He was eventually allowed to work, draw, and paint during his time at the hospital.

He wrote to Theo his brother,  “I didn’t know that one could break one’s brain and that afterwards that got better too.”

Vincent found comfort and strength in painting and produced over a hundred sketches and drawings of the picturesque village and forests surrounding the hospital.

Vincent continued to believe in the healing power of painting. He wrote, “Art is to console those who are broken by life.”

Vincent recovered sufficiently and discharged to go home.

Seeking help

Unfortunately, Van Gogh’s condition worried his neighbour and they petitioned to have him locked up in the psychiatric hospital. However, the only danger that was ominent was the harm to himself.

“At least I have not harmed anyone and I am not dangerous to anyone,” he told the Reverend Fréderic Salles.

Vincent attempted to take his own life due to the increased feeling of loneliness and fear that life would never get better,

In the end, the world lost a brilliant artist to suicide. The weeks after Vincent’s funeral, Vincent’s brother and family received numerous letters from artists who were inspired by and appreciated Vincent’s artworks.

Vincent left this world without realising that there was a whole community of artists outside of the hospital who were inspired by his work.

If you have been feeling down and lonely, please reach out to someone and talk to them.

If you experience persisting dark feelings or suicidal thoughts, please know that you are never alone. Please withhold any plans to end your life and find help immediately.  Please choose life, things can change as you turn a corner. Life is worth living.

SOS helpline

Please click and read this article as you try to seek help. Please choose life.

Here’s how you can find your own way of healing:

What to expect in therapy

Understand more about Self harm

Managing disturbing repeated thoughts

Creating your own destiny


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