120th Anniversary:Sacrifice of the ear.

December 23, 1888 Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh cuts off his own left ear, or at least part of the earlobe, after a row with fellow artist and close friend, Paul Gauguin. The incident happened in Arles, where van Gogh was living in a rented studio. The Dutchman, then aged 35, had long suffered repeated bouts of mental illness. Having cut off his ear with a razor blade, he then wrapped it in newspaper and gave it to a local prostitute, telling her to “keep it carefully”. He staggered home and was found unconscious in a pool of blood by Gauguin. Van Gogh was taken to hospital but his mental health problems persisted. He is widely believed to have shot himself in 1890.

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