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On This Day… Van Gogh And His Left Ear!

Written by: George Chittenden : 20 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 23rd December, back in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh cut part of his own ear off! The incident happened in a rented house in Arles in the south of France, where Vincent had hoped to create an artists’ colony. He’d had an argument with fellow lodger and artist Gaugin, so he went up to his room, and took a razor to his left ear and cut the lobe off.

Once he’d removed it, he wrapped it in paper, and delivered it to a woman at a brothel both he and Gaugin frequented. Van Gogh was found unconscious the next morning and was taken to hospital. He was diagnosed with acute mania and spent time in hospital, before voluntarily entering an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

It is here he painted one of his most iconic works, 1889's The Starry Night. Tragically, the artist who would one day be famous the world over continued to be plagued by despair and loneliness. On July 27, 1890, he received a gunshot wound and died two days later. It’s widely believed that he committed suicide, but a theory exists that he was actually murdered!

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