23 December, 2009

Ear Day

van Gogh
o/c, 60 x 49 cm

Today, in 1888, our favorite tortured artist, Vincent van Gogh, lost the integrity of his left ear. Holiday pressures will take their toll, but sheesh.

Now, historical critics are disputing the self-mutilation narrative, and blaming Gauguin for the ear removal. I think the original theory is simpler, and makes more sense of his strange gifting of the ear to the lady around the corner in Arles. He did it, and he gifted it. He "owned" it, so to speak. Later self-violence, where he committed suicide, also makes the original ear story more believable.

The reason the right ear appears bandaged in the van Gogh self-portraits is that he looked in the mirror to reference them.


Unknown said...

Hi Casey, First - I want you to know that appreciate your comments on my blog and have edited today's post to include your wonderful River series! Sorry for the oversight in the first place. Second - you've touched on an interesting piece of history. It will be interesting to see if scholars find a definitive answer. And, yes, he IS my favorite artist, tortured or not. Merry Christmas!

Casey Klahn said...

We are soul cousins, then - we both have the same favorite artist. I have a hunch that there are a lot that feel the same way.

I doubt that scholarship will resolve the question of VVG's ear cut. Maybe CSI can do something, eh?

Merry Christmas, Kathy!

Unknown said...

Ha! I'm chuckling about CSI. Maybe Oliver Stone could make another movie that rewrites history, but this time about Vincent! BTW - have you even seen Van Gogh's small painting of a hard shelled crab? It's truly magnificent. I don't know the title of it (probably "crab").

Casey Klahn said...

I have a book of his complete works - I'll try to find it. Thanks for the recommendation, and also for the link.

Yellow said...

Kathy, I found an inage of the crabs online. Those zingy oranges against the cool grey-blue-green background sings.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism