Van Gogh was a master at infusing deep emotion and intense energy into otherwise very commonplace subjects. His Starry Night Over the Rhone (not to be confused with his other, more famous work, The Starry Night) was so stunning in real life that I consider it my favorite painting. The notion that Van Gogh's mental illness inspired his expressive artwork seems to be quite widely held; however, a new exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, On the Verge of Insanity, offers evidence to the contrary. It argues instead that his illness severally hindered his work. You can read some interesting things about Van Gogh and about the exhibit here and here.