Gauguin Cut Off Van Gogh's Ear
One of art history's most revered myths was exploded today. It turns out Paul Gauguin was the one responsible for severing Van Gogh's earlobe. More here.
I wonder how many artists have done something terrible to themselves because of this romantic myth of self-destruction, which was never true. Van Gogh was, in any event, a mentally ill individual and probably would have been happy not to have been, and mental illness is an obstacle to creation, not an aid to it. For instance, depression might stimulate a lot of thoughts and ideas in one way, but in another, it's more likely to keep you from actually executing anything based on that idea than to help bring it about. The idea of the "starving artist" is an evil one that only benefits art dealers and publishers, as it creates a stigma in some artists' minds about being paid properly, or at all.
In any event, my favorite part of the story is a quote from the artist's brother(and art dealer) Theo, who remarked:
"Luckily Gauguin ... is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons."
True that. Gauguin was a complete asshole, after all.
Labels: art, history, you're wrong