Van Gogh Self Portrait

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Example Analytical Essay From 1885 through to 1890, the Dutch Post-Impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh painted at least 30 self-portraits. Of all these masterpieces, ‘Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear’ (1889) is the most infamous as it captures the tortured artist soon after he cut off a piece of his ear. In the oil on canvas the artist faces the viewer at a slight angle. He wears a bandage across his ear and under his chin, a purple and black winter cap upon his head, and a green overcoat with only the top button fastened. In the background, a colourful painting hangs on a yellow wall, a canvas sits on a wooden easel to the left and a door is visible on the right side of the composition. Van Gogh said " is difficult to know yourself, but it isn't easy to paint oneself either." ‘Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear’ is an honest portrayal of the artists battle with mental illness and loneliness, indicating that painting was the artists only solace and means of understanding himself. ‘Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear’ portrays that Van Gogh’s depression and violent outbursts were spiralling out of control. The evidence of his self-harm is seen through the white bandage covering his ear. The incident which caused van Gogh to slice off most of an earlobe is possibly the most famous in art history (Milner, 2001). During a violent disagreement with his friend and fellow artist, Gauguin, “Vincent heard the words "Kill him" in that ear, which he opted to remove rather than obey (Harding, 2002 – 2007; pr 5)”. Another example of his poor mental state in ‘Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear’ is the choice of colour as the green and yellow tones create a sickly atmosphere. Maybe the artists knew that his physical and mental state was deteriorating. Could this work have been a cry for help? Furthermore, the repetition of thick, bold brush marks creates a feeling of
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