self-portrait with a bandaged ear


This is my Valentines Day gift to Devin this year.

I decided to go with this presentation for Valentine’s Day to pay homage to my artistic roots and to the fact that I suffer from anxiety and depression, with a maybe satirical Valentine’s Day gesture (I made up for the silliness with a heartfelt note I attached to the bottom.) I had a lot of fun making it though and I hope he enjoys the humor in it as much as I did.

p>Here’s a short art history lesson for background in case anyone doesn’t understand the reference. Vincent Van Gogh was a very emotionally troubled artist. His life was filled with emotional turmoil and suffering. At one point in his life he institutionalized himself because he realized he was unstable. Anyways, there’s a story that Van Gogh once cut off a part of his ear and presented it to the woman he fancied who of course wasn’t too thrilled by it. (Some of his later self portraits show him with his ear bandaged up from the incident).

Below is a link to a video that shows the full outside painting of the box that I did. (A friend sculpted the ear)


Self-Portrait with Dark-Felt Hat (1886) | Self-Portrait with Grey-Felt Hat (1886/87)
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (1887) | Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe (1889)

The more ugly, older, more cantankerous, more ill and poorer I become, the more I try to make amends by making my colours more vibrants, more balanced and beaming.
-Vincent van Gogh


Kirby and Fine Art, PART 1!

Click each image for the name of the original picture (on the right) and the artist.

While subbing episode 77, ‘Royal Acadedemy’, I was determined to find out what each of the paintings used in the episode were from.

It’s interesting to note that none of the versions used in the episode are exact copies! Many of them look like they’ve been completely redrawn rather than just having filters applied.

Fun fact-  The dimensions of the Mona Lisa are about 30" x 20".

…Which means Kirby really is only about 8″ tall here!



64 days in heaven and hell (159)
No one really knows what happened that fatal night of December 23. Not even Van Gogh could have told us. Only Gauguin knew part of it, but he left us with two totally different versions. A couple of days after the facts, he told Bernard that Van Gogh had run after him with a piece of paper in his hand - much like I described it here. Did he want to protect his friend by not telling more or not?
One year later, he changed his story dramatically and wrote that Van Gogh had come running towards him with an open razor and that he stopped him with his commanding glance, etc.  Was that the true story then, or did he twist the truth to ease his own feelings of guilt for having left his friend the way he had? 

Why did van Gogh go to that brothel with his severed ear? Did he suspect to find Gauguin in his favourite ‘maison de tolérance’? Or did Van Gogh really intend to have Rachel keep guard over it? Who was Rachel anyway and what was she to Van Gogh? Was she indeed a girl of easy virtue? Or was she in fact the young vulnerable Gabrielle that earned her meager income by cleaning up the place, as recent research wants us to believe?

And what was wrong with Van Gogh’s mind? I found some 12 different theories trying to explain his behavior. Currently, the most popular of them seems to be bipolar disorder. And we can’t rule out the effect of his at times excessive use of alcohol either, of course. 

But like I said, no one can really answer these and much more questions. We can only try. And that’s what keeps his story so fascinating.

Vincent van Gogh,
- Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, early January, 1889. Oil on canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm. The Courtauld Gallery, London (F 527, JH 1657)
- Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, early January, 1889. Oil on canvas, 51 x 45 cm. Private collection (F 529, JH 1658)

the signs as van gogh works
  • aries: starry night (1889)
  • taurus: almond blossom (1890)
  • gemini: irises (1889)
  • cancer: ploughed fields (1888)
  • leo: self-portrait (1887)
  • virgo: sunflowers (1889)
  • libra: the pink peach tree (1888)
  • scorpio: at eternity's gate (1890)
  • sagittarius: starry night over the rhone (1888)
  • capricorn: the bedroom (1888)
  • aquarius: seascape near les saintes-maries-de-la-mer (1888)
  • pisces: self portrait with bandaged ear (1889)

Vincent van Gogh

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, 1889, oil on canvas, Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

Vincent van Gogh created many self-portraits during his lifetime. In most cases Van Gogh’s self-portraits are depicting the face as it appeared in the mirror he used to reproduce his face, i.e. his right side in the image is in reality the left side of his face.

This portrait brilliantly illustrates it. It was painted in January of 1889 just weeks after part of Van Gogh’s ear was cut off. His right ear is bandaged in the portrait though in reality the wound was to his left ear.

The precise chain of events that led to the celebrated incident of van Gogh slicing off his ear is not known reliably in detail. It is said he cut off his own earlobe following a violent argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin. The only account attesting a supposed razor attack on Gauguin comes from Gauguin himself some fifteen years later, and biographers agree this account must be considered unreliable and self-serving. It does seem likely, however, that by 23 December 1888 van Gogh had realised that Gauguin was proposing to leave and that there had been some kind of dispute between the two. That evening van Gogh severed his left ear (wholly or in part, accounts differ) with a razor, causing a severe haemorrhage. He bandaged his wound and then wrapped the ear in paper and delivered the package to a brothel frequented by both him and Gauguin before returning home and collapsing. He was found unconscious the next day by the police and taken to hospital. The local newspaper reported that van Gogh had given the ear to a prostitute with an instruction to guard it carefully.