Vincent van Gogh created more than 36 self-portraits over a period of ten years. He made these portraits not only to practice painting people but also because he struggled to find models due to his financial difficulties. Among all his self-portraits, the Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, painted shortly before his death, is considered one of Van Gogh’s greatest works.
The painting depicts Van Gogh holding his paintbrushes in one hand and wearing a bandage around his head covering the ear he famously cut off. The undulating background contrasts with his fixed expression, leaving an intense and emotional impression on the viewer. This particular self-portrait was painted during Van Gogh’s stay in Saint Remy after suffering from a mental breakdown that left him hospitalized in an asylum.
Another notable self-portrait by Van Gogh is the Self-Portrait (1889), which shows an aggressive and surly face. Some art historians believe that this picture might not be Van Gogh’s final self-portrait as there is another version that looks similar without beard paint alongside it. Nevertheless, both versions reflect the artist’s psychological state at the time of their creation and provide important insights for understanding Vincent van Gogh as a person and as an artist.