1888: Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Painter, Who Cut Off His Ear over Depression

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Written by Tadese Faforiji

On December 23, 1888, Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter, having suffered serious depression, chopped off the “lower part of his ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France.”

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear

In a painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Vincent documented this event, and today, he is regarded as a great artistic genius. Vincent’s works “sell for record-breaking prices”, even though in his lifetime, he was a poster boy for tortured starving artists and sold only one painting.”

Life Story

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born in the Netherlands on March 30, 1853. He was a nervous human, and he worked many unsuccessful works, especially at an art gallery, and later as a preacher among Belgium’s poor miners.

van Gogh. cr: Britannica

Van Gogh decided to become an artist in 1880. One of his most famous works during this period is The Potato Eaters (1885), and his works usually portrayed the lifestyle and experiences he had among the peasants and the poor miners.

Van Gogh Moved to Paris

He moved to Paris in 1886 where Theo, his younger brother, lived. Theo was an art dealer; he aided his brother in terms of finance and introduced him to several artists, “including Paul Gauguin, Camille Pisarro and Georges Seurat”. Having gathered a lot of experiences from these great artists, Van Gogh’s own artistic style lightened up and he began using more colour.”

Van Gogh in New Apartment

Van Gogh rented a house in Arles in the south of France In 1888. In his new apartment, he hoped to establish an artists’ colony and ease the burden of responsibilities of his brother.

Paul Gauguin Joined van Gogh

“In Arles, Van Gogh painted vivid scenes from the countryside as well as still-lifes, including his famous sunflower series”. Paul Gauguin, one of the artists Theo introduced to Vincent, joined him in Arles and they both worked together for about two months.  

Tensions and Mutilation

However, tensions developed and on December 23, in a fit of dementia, Van Gogh initially threatened Paul Gauguin with a knife “before turning it on himself and mutilating his ear lobe”. 

Insanity and Creativity

As alleged, after being wrapped, he gave the ear to a prostitute at a very close brothel. He was hospitalized in “Arles and also checked himself into a mental institution in Saint-Remy for a year”. He never regained normalcy afterwards, he swayed between periods of insanity and great creativity, in which he produced some of his best and most well-known works, including Starry Night and Irises (1).

Van Gogh’s Death

Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris In May 1890, and he continued to be affected by hopelessness and loneliness. On July 27, 1890, Van Gogh shot himself and died two days later at the age 37 (2).

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Faforiji Tadese

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1888: Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Painter, Who Cut Off the His Ear over Depression

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Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.

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