December 23, 2009
Today: Van Gogh Injures Self
Today marks the day in 1888 when Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cut off part of his left ear while staying in Arles, France. He painted himself later with a bandaged ear in the painting titled, "Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear."
For two months previously, Van Gogh had been working with fellow painter Gauguin, who had came to stay with him in Arles. Tensions developed and Van Gogh threatened his friend with a knife before injuring himself. He was hospitalized in Arles and checked himself into a mental institution in Saint-Remy for a year.
While hospitalized, alternating periods of madness and creativity resulted in some of his best known works including Starry Night and Irises. Van Gogh died in July 1890 at age 37, two days after shooting himself.