In One Ear, and Out the Other

Separating tall tales from truth in the case of van Gogh’s ill-fated ear

WORDS BY TASH COWLEY

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VISUAL ARTS — Issue 7

Avid admirers of Vincent van Gogh could no doubt describe Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear in great detail. He sits in solemn contemplation, a thick blue cap concealing his now infamous red hair. Penetrating, still blue eyes gaze out from a hauntingly gaunt face. An open window, a Japanese print, and a canvas on an easel wait patiently behind him. And, as the work’s title suggests, a bandage swaddles his ear. Which ear, you ask? That, to this day, is a hotly debated detail. van Gogh gifted us with an extraordinary insight into his artistic process and psychological state; a swathe of hand-written letters between himself and correspondents deftly piece together the pivotal details of his life. However

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Van Gogh pipe by Jeremy Lewis

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Continue reading in Issue 7

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