Rather than being insane, as the legend claims, evidence suggests that Vincent van Gogh suffered from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, which caused his erratic behavior. He longed for human companionship, but was feared, ridiculed and isolated from his community.
Add to that the mysterious story that he did not commit suicide as most believe, but was shot by one of two young men who delighted in tormenting him. If the evidence leading to that conclusion is correct, his life story is no less tragic for it.
The saving grace, if one can call it that, was that he apparently welcomed death as a release from his suffering and his dependence upon his ailing younger brother. His dying wish was that no one be accused or blamed for his death.
In spite of his suffering and short life, Vincent produced an enormous and inspiring body of work.