Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Oil on canvas
Height: 60.5 cm ( canvas ); Width: 50 cm ( canvas ); Height: 81 cm ( frame ); Width: 70 cm ( frame ); Depth: 8 cm ( frame );
Courtauld, Samuel; bequest; 1948
About this work
Paul Gauguin joined Van Gogh in Arles in November 1888, in order to paint together in what Van Gogh called the ‘studio of the south’, but they quickly started to quarrel. After an argument on 23 December, Van Gogh mutilated his right ear. He was admitted to hospital, and Gauguin returned to Paris.
This self-portrait was one of the first works Van Gogh painted after this incident. He seems to have thought that the act of painting would help him recover his mental equilibrium.
Van Gogh wears rough outdoor clothing. Behind him are an easel with a scarcely worked painting, and a print he owned by the Japanese artist Sato Torakiyo (dating from the 1870s). The picture could be a defiant statement of his determination to continue painting
(Permanent collection label)
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London