The ‘angry young men' on exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi might just have easily been called the ‘troubled young men,' for each had his share of eccentricities and issues. Mirò often resorted to anorexia for inspiration. He would lie in bed for days, without eating, sketching the shapes he saw forming on his ceiling while in a starvation-induced state of delirium. He produced his most acclaimed masterpiece, The Harlequin's Carnival, by reaching such a hallucinatory state. Dalì's eccentricity is also well known. He once attended a New York costume ball dressed as the Lindbergh baby and kidnapper. Towards the end of his life, in a move that recalls Mirò, he dehydrated himself to a near-death state, considered by many a suicide attempt but defended by the artist as a way to enter into a ‘suspended state of animation.' Picasso traded wives like stamps and spent a significant portion of the money he made on prostitutes.
Centuries earlier, the Italian masters without whose work Florence would just be another romantic Tuscan town were just as eccentric, some even violent. A peek into their biographies reveals a quality of instability seemingly inseparable from the quality of their art.