By: Scott RossPublished: December 23, 2022

Vincent Van Gogh

In 1888 Vincent Van Gogh was feeling pretty jazzed about the impending arrival in Arles, France, of his friend Paul Gaugin. He started buying furniture, made paintings to decorate the walls... proper nesting. They were gonna make a great artists collective.

The two men painted, sometimes each other, shared techniques and ideas, did a bit of traveling. It was awesome. But Gaugin was a bit of a conceited dick and made our man Vinny feel terribly insecure, which is weird, because, c'mon, Van Gogh was to Gaugin as we are to apes. In any event, tensions were running high and after two months things came to a head.

According to Gaugin, the two men had a row on December 23, 1888, that culminated in Van Gogh rushing at him brandishing a razor. Van Gogh then retreated to his home, the famous "Yellow House," where he began to hear voices in his head. One thing led to another and the man sliced off a not insignificant part of his own ear. After bandaging the self-inflicted wound, Van Gogh then wrapped the detached ear in paper and brought it to a young cleaning woman named Gaby who worked at a local brothel that he and Gaugin had frequented.

Police found Van Gogh the following day passed out in his room and delivered him to a hospital, where he awoke with no recollection of the incident. Doctors determined he suffered from "acute mania with generalized delirium" and the police insisted he spend the holidays in hospital, during which time Gaugin fled back to Paris. What a pal.


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