you're reading...
Daily History

December 23 1888 Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his ear

Van GoghOn December 23rd 1888, in what has become known as one of the more bizarre acts by artists (a feat hard to achieve), acclaimed 19th century artist Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his ear. The act was by no means a form of art, though given postmodern art this would not be surprising. Rather, it was Van Gogh’s act of desperation in light of a deteriorating relationship with friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin.

The friendship between Van Gogh and Gauguin was short lived, only lasting two years, but it seems that it was one that inspired Van Gogh. The two artists spent some time in Paris in 1887 and after a short absence, they met again in Arles during 1888. After an art exhibit of December of 1888, Gauguin and Van Gogh began to fight constantly about art and their views. While both artists are often classified as Post-Impressionists, there is a notable difference between the art of Van Gogh and Gauguin, and so their differing views on art are not without merit.

It is definitely possible that their shared bouts of depressions are what caused them to become friends in the first place, along with their mutual love for art of course. Both became depressed at different intervals, and it was during one of these bouts that Van Gogh began to stalk Gauguin, after one of their arguments. Using a razor, Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear, wrapped it in newspaper, and gave it to a prostitute named Rachel, saying that she must “keep this object carefully.” Nevertheless, due to their torn friendship, Gauguin left Arles, and the two artists were never friends again.

Following the incident, Van Gogh began to suffer from hallucinations and paranoia, eventually being admitted to a mental hospital in Saint-Remy, outside of Arles. He was admitted out in 1890 for an art exhibit where he was recognised as a genius. However his continuing depression led him to shoot himself in a field. He died two days later in bed, reportedly exclaiming the last words: “the sadness will last forever.”

About Craig Hill

General Manager at Craig Hill Training Services * Get an Australian diploma by studying in your own country * Get an Australian diploma using your overseas study and work experience * Diplomas can be used for work or study in Australia and other countries. * For more information go to www.craighill.net



  1. Pingback: Je ferme les yeux afin de mieux voir | One quality, the finest. - February 9, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Join 1,696 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

  • Just got my first shot of Astra Zeneca, and there are no side effects so far. #COVID19 #auspol 34 minutes ago
  • If the LNP didn't have double standards, they wouldn't have any standards at all. #auspol 20 hours ago
  • RT @cheryl_kernot: Do hope we are able to succeed in reminding Australian voters that Aged Care has been left to run down to this critical… 23 hours ago
  • RT @AustDems: With your support, we can work together to bring back integrity, truth and transparency to Australian politics and look out f… 1 day ago
  • RT @docbaty: This federal election I’ll be working to elect representatives who don’t need red carpet to support an inflated sense of impor… 1 day ago

I also have a news site about China:

%d bloggers like this: