Artipathy discussion

Dear Theo > Van Gogh and mental illness.

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message 1: by S. Kay (new)

S. Kay (cobwebs) | 90 comments

Thought this was an interesting article about Van Gogh's famous missing ear. Sounds like it might be speculation, but it's impossible to know either way.

It does make me think about how an artist could become quite comfortable using the "insane creative genius" or "tortured creative artist" stereotype to their advantage, and why it's rarely disputed. There's no doubt that Van Gogh had his share of demons.

message 2: by Todd (new)

Todd (tekeller) | 55 comments Hmm, i have heard of their relationship, and i know that Gauguin was supposdaly pretty fed up with Gogh, but it seems like a pretty odd thing to do.....why would you pull a sword out and cut your friends ear off?, for one you'd have to be a pretty damn good shot...amazing almost, and for another why would you throw away the sword if gogh was going to make the story up anyways?-and why protect him?-wouldn't he be like"yeah he's a bastard, he cut my ear off, but i did try to kill him with a bottle's fair?" well anyways, you'd have to be pretty insane to cut your own ear off, i wouldn't be surprised if it was an accident, but maybe a different kind of one...and who knows how much of the ear was cut off?- seems like if you can get a bandage around it your doing okay.. heh

message 3: by S. Kay (new)

S. Kay (cobwebs) | 90 comments I'd completely buy that Gauguin and him got into an argument that involved sharp objects... from what I've read about their relationship it was very tumultuous in that Theo practically had to beg him to babysit and keep Van Gogh company. From popular depiction, it seemed like they were friends, but that Gauguin tired of it quickly. This is just what I've seen/read though.

Still, it seems like a wild story, whether you believe he did, or Gauguin did it accidentally... But is there any other kind of story besides a weird one that would lead to one losing one's ear?!

message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim | 362 comments Mod
Hmmm...possible. Todd, it says he was a good fencer so I don't think it would be so difficult, just a quick flick of the wrist. And it says he wasn't completely insane at the time, which perhaps you would have to be to cut your own ear off. I think a case could be built here and if it did happen then it makes sense that he would protect him. From the scenario the built let's imagine...Gaugin's leaving, V.G. desperately doesn't want him too. Gaugin begins to gestures with his sword and in a fit of passion, frustration and anger cuts his friends ear off, rather than directly killing him. What seems to me to be the loose end though is that they had the coolness of afterthought to get rid of the sword and concoct a lie. That doesn't ring true. Hmm...Perhaps Gaugin in his shock of what he had done, and the river being nearby, threw the sword in the river and ran away, leaving V.G. in his delirium to wander into the nearest brothel and hand his ear to the nearest damsel. wait...maybe it all happened in the brothel after all... I've got to get to that part in the book. The truth is many scenarios could be built. Perhaps also it was V.G.'s desperate attempt to gain recognition and sympathy for his work. Some people would give their right arm to be a famous artist, maybe he gave his right ear?

message 5: by Todd (new)

Todd (tekeller) | 55 comments Ha, that's true, you guys are probably right, i think i always say it as a cheese knife accident, but who knows!

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