With the shift to intellectual before emotionally stimulating art in the postmodern era, I would dare say artists aren't quite the sensitive and emotional Van Gogh types we expect any longer. Actually, I read something about the oldest woman in the world meeting Van Gogh and commenting on the fact he wasn't a very nice guy. Maybe we read too much into the person through his or her work.
The best art, whether we like it or not, is often a reaction to the times - 'fighting fire with fire' might be the best way to describe modern art. Fashionable cynicism has been in for a while (i.e. Andreas Gursky). I'm convinced we're on the verge of a revolution however and the coldly intellectual art in abundance is even starting to rub critics the wrong way.
My contemporary photography hero is the landscape photographer David Ward, who in his writing talks about a 'return to beauty'. As a 'sensitive artist' myself, I'm moved and inspired by such an ideal. He believes that an aversion to beauty and emotion in contemporary art is dangerous and the farther removed we are from these things (which inspire us to create in the first place) results in sterile art. I don't think we can say much about the artist's basic humanity by looking at their work, but we can certainly get an insight into their state of mind while they created it. My fear is that for our most celebrated artists, their work comes from a bitter and cynical place and this is something average Joe responds to today, quite frighteningly. Perhaps this results in all the wrong people being inspired to become artists and eventually we might lose sight of art as a representation of the human spirit - which I believe, is fundamentally good, devoid of cynical ideas and concerned with emotion.
Phew, had to get that out!