Arts Unsolved Mysteries

Whether it be Edgar Allan Poe or Vincent van Gogh, an artists life is often full of mystery. In some cases, their deaths are too.

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ABOVE: Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine, 1916-17, oil on canvas, 50.4 x 54.7 inches, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Life is inherently mysterious. For the following artists, so too was death:

Edgar Allan Poe

In 1849, at the age of 40, a delirious Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore. Incoherent, and wearing someone else’s clothes, he was unable to tell anyone what happened, and he died 4 days after being found.

Vincent van Gogh

In 1890, at the age of 37, van Gogh stumbled into town with a gunshot wound to the chest. It is believed he shot himself, but no gun was ever found, and there were no witnesses. Despite being in good spirits, he died 29 hours after arriving home.

Tom Thomson

In 1917, at the age of 39, Thomson disappeared on a canoeing trip in Algonquin Park – his body was found 8 days later, floating alone in Canoe Lake. While some theories suggest murder, others suicide, the official cause of death was listed as accidental drowning. No one knows exactly when he died.

Caravaggio

In 1610, at the age of 38, Caravaggio died in Tuscany – his death has been shrouded in mystery ever since. While Syphilis or murder have long been suspected, another recent theory has been lead poisoning. Like Thomson, no one knows exactly how, or when he died.

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And You Thought You Were Weird

Creative people are often a bit odd – I know I am. Fear not creatives, even geniuses can be a little strange – in some cases, really strange.

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ABOVE: Albert Einstein (duh!), Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s face it, we all have our quirks. The following geniuses are no exception:

Andy Warhol

Warhol was a confirmed foot fetishist and even owned a mummified human foot. No one knows where he got it.

Leonardo da Vinci

da Vinci was a practitioner of polyphasic sleep. What’s that you ask? It’s the practice of taking multiple naps throughout a 24 hour period. He rarely slept more than two hours a day.

Edgar Allan Poe

Poe liked to write each of his works in a scroll fashion, on a continuous strip of paper, sealed with wax. He also proclaimed his cat to be his literary guardian.

Albert Einstein

Einstein refused to wear socks, no matter how formal the occasion. He also asked his estranged wife to sign a contract with the following clause: “You will stop talking to me if I request it.” Apparently, she agreed.

Charles Dickens

Dickens would only write at a desk facing north and when he slept, his feet had to point south. He always carried a compass, and would re-arrange the bed if necessary.

Salvador Dali

Dali was obsessed with Hitler and when asked about his obsession said: “I often dreamed about Hitler as other men dreamed about women.”