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.


  1. An "odd" event for remembrance, but I do appreciate the history lesson! :) Does make me a little sad, though, wondering if one must go mad in order to make truly fabulous work and be remembered in history. So many artists are a testament to the profound effects of mental illness...

  2. i know, it's a shame that such beauty came from such pain.

  3. Hmm...I didn't know that about Van Gogh. Thanks for the informative post.


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