Where did Van Gogh chop his ear off and why did he do it?

Vincent van Gogh, the renowned Dutch painter, famously cut off his ear on the night of December 23, 1888, in the town of Arles in the south of France. This act of self-mutilation has become one of the most widely discussed episodes in art history, shrouded in mystery and speculation. The accepted story is that Van Gogh, in a fit of anguish and despair, severed his entire left ear with a razor blade. However, recent research and analysis suggest that the true circumstances surrounding the incident may be more complex than previously thought. Book A Tour Now>>

Van Gogh had been living and working in Arles, where he rented a house known as the Yellow House. He had invited his friend and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin, to join him in Arles with the hope of establishing an artist colony. Gauguin arrived in Arles in October 1888, and for a brief period, the two artists worked together, exchanging ideas and collaborating on various projects. However, their relationship soon soured, and tensions between them reached a breaking point.

On the night of December 23, 1888, Van Gogh and Gauguin had a heated argument at the Yellow House. According to some accounts, Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor during the altercation, but Gauguin managed to disarm him and leave the house. In a state of emotional turmoil and mental distress, Van Gogh then proceeded to cut off his left ear with a razor. The exact reasons behind this drastic act remain a subject of debate among art historians and scholars.

One theory suggests that Van Gogh's self-mutilation was a desperate attempt to win back Gauguin's friendship and attention. Van Gogh may have believed that sacrificing a part of himself would serve as a symbolic gesture of penance and reconciliation. Another theory posits that Van Gogh's self-harm was an expression of his inner turmoil and psychological anguish. Throughout his life, Van Gogh struggled with mental illness, including episodes of severe depression and anxiety, which may have contributed to his self-destructive behavior.

After cutting off his ear, Van Gogh wrapped the severed appendage in newspaper and gave it to a prostitute named Rachel at a nearby brothel. He then returned home, where he was discovered by the police and taken to the hospital in Arles. Van Gogh was treated by Dr. FĂ©lix Rey, who bandaged his wound and helped care for him during his recovery. The incident shocked the local community and garnered widespread attention in the press.

Following his hospitalization, Van Gogh painted a self-portrait depicting himself with a bandaged ear, which has since become one of his most famous works. The painting, created in early 1889, captures Van Gogh's anguish and vulnerability in the aftermath of the incident. Despite the stigma surrounding his mental health struggles, Van Gogh continued to paint prolifically in the months following the incident, producing some of his most celebrated works.

The myth of the tortured artist has often overshadowed the true complexities of Van Gogh's life and work. While his mental health undoubtedly influenced his art, it is important to recognize that Van Gogh was more than just a tormented soul; he was a visionary artist whose work continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world. By examining the circumstances surrounding Van Gogh's ear-cutting incident with nuance and empathy, we can gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the myth and appreciate the enduring power of his artistic legacy.

Vincent van Gogh chopped off his ear at Arles, Auvers sur Chronicle. Contrary to popular belief, it was not due to a woman (Rachel), but rather Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh cut off his left ear when tempers flared with Paul Gauguin, the artist with whom he had been working for a while in Arles. He began to hallucinate and picked up a knife to cut off his ear. On the night of Dec. 23, 1888, in the throes of a mental breakdown, Vincent van Gogh cut off part of his own ear. Van Gogh then gave his ear to a young woman by the name of Gabrielle Berlatier. Its recalled that his reasoning for gifting his ear to her was to show his affection for her. Artist Vincent Van Gogh dealt with many mental issues leading him to cut off his entire ear and give the ear to a woman.

While in Amsterdam, make sure to visit the largest collection of his works on the planet. Dating back to 1973, the museum contains over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 700 hand-written letters by Van Gogh. During his short lifetime, he produced over 900 total paintings and 1,200 total drawings.