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In the fine arts, Vincent van Gogh is today probably the most widely known and appreciated artist with epilepsy. "The storm within" was how van Gogh described his typical seizure, which consisted of hallucinations, unprovoked feelings of anger, confusion and fear, and floods of early memories that disturbed him because they were outside his control.
Van Gogh also had convulsive seizures; a hospital worker witnessed Vincent having one while painting outside. He was prescribed potassium bromide as an anticonvulsant and ordered to spend countless hours bathing in tubs at the asylum in Saint-Remy. His most troubling seizures peaked with his greatest art in the south of France, where he painted A Starry Night, the extraordinary Self-Portrait, and the famous Crows in the Wheatfields.
There have been a number of prominent composers and musicians with epilepsy. George Frederick Handel, the famous baroque composer of the Messiah, is one. Niccolo Paganini is another. Paganini was an Italian violinist and composer considered by many to be the greatest violinist of all time. The eminent Russian composer of the ballets Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, Peter Tchaikovsky, is believed to have had epilepsy. Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest masters of music, may have had epilepsy as well.
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