Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear by Van Gogh

Self portrait with Bandaged Ear

Vincent Van Gogh can be hailed as the ultimate articulator of the true self; the self that is unafraid of its feelings and passions, the self that is trying so hard to break free from the shackles of inhibitions that have been forced upon him by the society and the self that is sometimes astonished by its own ambitions and deeds. Van Gogh’s painting mostly concerns the man who went through a tumultuous emotional state through all his life, therefore, if one starts comprehending his paintings, he will find that all of them are adorned with his personal touches; they were a channel for Gogh to articulate his feelings and hopes that he would have otherwise veiled away from the world. The self-portrait where he has left ear bandaged can be seen as the highest watermark of his caliber and the transparent emotions that have been given birth to by every stroke of the brush are bound to pierce through the viewers’ hearts. It is one of most famous paintings.

van gogh self portrait

The scene illustrated

In the painting, you will see Van Gogh’s left ear covered with a white bandage and his eyes staring straight in the oblivion. The scene has been taken from the real-life of the painter where out of rage that followed after a heated argument with his fellow painter Paul Gauguin who he had deep regards for, he cut and threw off his earlobe. The experience related is nothing less than nerve chilling and qualifies him as an “Outsider” in the society in the true sense of the term. As Albert Camus mentioned in his book based on the absurdity of the individual life plagued by the expectations and catastrophes of the society, Van Gogh here is seen as a misfit because of his inordinate rollercoaster of emotions.

The implication of the painting

The most commendable part of the painting is his eyes that have brilliantly captured the raw dread that a man encounters after such a violent act. Every single characteristic of the painting shriek seeking pity for the artist and his helplessness of the shocking actions that as a man Van Gogh was capable of carrying out. The event of self-mutilation that was carried out in a fit of anger and impulse has left him with a strange feeling that is quite different and more horrific than a tragedy. Two dominating factors of the post-modern art are influence and repetition and both of them have been brightly outlined in the painting. There’s a portrait on the wall behind Van Gogh and that is supposed to have originated from Japan and known by the name of lost paradise; while the theme of repetition has been inculcated in the brush strokes making the painting fierce and fascinating at the same time.

What makes it a must-have?

As inhabitants of the post-modern era, a man is bound to both the society and the self equally; but in an attempt to fulfill his responsibilities towards the former, he starts creating a gnawing distance from himself. This gap is something that all of us are direly trying to conquer and pacify to attain ultimate peace and tranquility. When you own a painting in your house that comes with such a strong message, you realize how crucial it becomes to unleash both the angels and demons inside our heads so that they do not find expression in activities that harm the self or the ones around us. Moreover, this portrait will bond with you on a personal level propagating that the bottom line is that we are all animals but the distinguishing feature is that we are the only species at the mercy of language.

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