Exclusive: new book describes harrowing period in which he produced most beloved works

Details of the most harrowing period in the life of Vincent Van Gogh, including the names of the men who shared his year of confinement in an asylum in the south of France, and his mental collapses when he tried to poison himself with his own paints, have been revealed.

It was a period of anguish but extraordinary creativity for Van Gogh, in which he produced some of his most dazzling and beloved works, now in museum collections across the world – all based on brief outings, the views through the barred window of his room and many days spent painting in the asylum gardens.

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