You may have heard about Vincent Van Gogh’s dramatic ear-snapping. The artist famously shaved off the lobe of his left ear to give to his lover. The incident is also the subject of a well-known biography called Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story. According to the book, Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story, a doctor who examined the artist’s wound showed that the painter had severed the ear.
Van Gogh was in a quarrel with Gauguin when he decided to cut off his ear. He grabbed a straight razor and followed Gauguin. In the middle of their argument, Van Gogh accidentally slit his own ear lobe. He then wrapped the wound and dispensed the appendage to a brothel maid. After Gauguin was hospitalized, the two artists parted ways.
Despite his famous self-harm, Vincent van Gogh’s ear continues to draw controversy. Two German historians have suggested that Van Gogh severed his ear after an argument with Gauguin. In 1888, he cut off the left lobe of his left ear with a razor and presented it to a prostitute. After the incident, Van Gogh was hospitalized and eventually entered a mental asylum.
Related reading: How Did Van Gogh Die?