Vincent was extremely difficult to deal with. If he saw something unjust or
wrong, he felt compelled to attack it. It was always love or hate and this created many enemies. Even Theo found him impossible to live with. All Vincent thought about, all he cared about was the work.
Nevertheless, Theo, like Roulin the postman and Vincent's teacher in Amsterdam, Mendes da Costa, always thought that Vincent was a great and unique individual. These were the only three friends Vincent ever had, the only people who under-stood and loved him for what and who he was. But they were also unique and wonderful people, atypical from the average person.
Many people today who adulate Vincent make him into a Christ-like martyr. He was neither and would have detested the notion. He is depicted as the ultimate "communal" artist. This is nonsense. He was in fact the ultimate "individualist" who was never able to work well with others, or to be bound by any sort of cooperative rules. His desire to work with others came from
loneliness more than anything else.
Another myth is that he sacrificed his life (again, the martyr syndrome) for humanity. No. He gave his life to his work. He did indeed have an obsessive desire to educate and inspire people. But he strove to do so through his work, which superseded everything else.
The most significant and revelatory things about van Gogh are not that he cut off his earlobe or that he suffered attacks of madness or that he committed suicide, but rather that he lived life to the fullest, realized his artistic potential as much as humanly possible, fought magnificently against the attacks and all forms of adversity, never willingly giving in to them.
Most important, he created a superb body of work that will live as long as the human race survives. The theme of his life, and the theme of my film The Eyes of Van Gogh, is Vincent's quest to achieve immortality through his work.