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Creativity and mental illness have been connected over time. Some mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, have been said to have helped popular artists with their works. One of the most known tortured artists is Vincent Van Gogh, who suffered from psychosis.
The trope has, however, been criticized for romanticizing mental illness, treating mental illness as a necessary ingredient for creativity.
- "Scientists: The 'Tortured Artist' Is a Real Thing". www.mentalfloss.com. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
- S4 E22: The Myth of the Tortured Artist | The Art Assignment, 2016-11-02, retrieved 2020-03-18
- Redfield Jamison, Kay (1996). Touched With Fire. New York: Free Press. ISBN 068483183X. – looks at the relationship between bipolar disorder and artistic creativity. It contains a number of case histories of dead people who are described as probably having suffered from bipolar disorder.
- Zara, Christopher (2012). Tortured Artists. Avon, Mass: Adams Media. ISBN 1440530033. – shows the universal nature of the tortured artist stereotype and how it applies to all of the creative disciplines, including film, theater, literature, music and visual art. The artists profiled in the book have generally made major contributions to their respective mediums (Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Parker, Lenny Bruce, Michelangelo, Kurt Cobain, Madonna, Andy Warhol, Amy Winehouse, Ernest Hemingway and dozens of others), but the book shows how, in each case, their art was inspired by pain and suffering.