Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) is one of the most famous artists in the world. During his 10-year career as an artist, he created more than 850 paintings. These works of art are now displayed in museums around the globe. It is therefore even more surprising that van Gogh sold just one painting during his lifetime. Van Gogh is also well-known for his mental illness. In 1888, at the age of 35, he famously sliced off his left ear. This was followed by multiple mental collapses in early 1889, leading to his admission to a mental hospital. Despite living in the asylum, van Gogh continued to paint and created some of his most beautiful works of art during the year at Saint-Rémy. Tragically, he committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37. Over the 130 years since his death, there has been much speculation about the underlying illness of Vincent van Gogh. Many of his contemporary physicians felt that he had a form of epilepsy as the cause of his sudden “attacks”. By the last quarter of the 19th century, science and medicine were moving rapidly forward, and there were many medical conditions that had effective treatments. One example is the use of digoxin for the treatment of heart failure, and another is the discovery of potassium bromide for seizures. This paper provides an overview of van Gogh’s mental illness, the treatments that were offered by his contemporaneous physicians, and the role that these factors may have influenced his paintings.