May 10, 2009

Van Gogh

The headline "New Details Emerge on Van Gogh's Ear" drew me to the article - http://www.comcast.net/video/debate-over-van-gogh-s-ear/1115429620/Comcast/1114783404/
Apparently, it was not Van Gogh himself who cut off his own ear, but Gauguin, who was an excellent fencer. I found myself fascinated by this and even immediately went to Netflix to add "Lust for Life" to my queue. Why, I ask myself, am I so fascinated by this new information regarding quite the odd act on the part of the artist. I think perhaps that it thickens the thin line that so many have drawn between genius and madness. If it really was Gauguin that cut off Van Gogh's ear lobe, yes it was only his ear lobe, do we now paint this as a "lover's quarrel" between Van Gogh and Gauguin? Or, if Van Gogh really did cut off his own ear lobe after Gauguin left their partnership, was Van Gogh really the distraught party merely trying to get attention, instead of the eccentric painter performing an eccentric act? Either way, the news makes those interested begin to ask new questions about both artists, and that is, in truth, the real reason that the story drew my attention.

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