The stereotype of the tortured artist pervades culture in numerous books and movies. Though the tortured artist's essential function is to transform suffering into art, often the people who adopt this persona don't have much in the way of personal tragedy. There are many artists, though, who have faced serious obstacles.

Some, like Ai Weiwei, face persecution because of their art, while others, such as Frida Kahlo, paint as an escape from their tribulations. From mental illness to romantic affairs gone horribly awry, these figures prove that nothing comes in the way of true genius. Here are The Worst Things That Have Happened to Great Artists.

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