Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear depicts the artist’s personal struggles and artistic power during a dark time in his life. The painting was created in January of 1889, shortly after the artist left the hospital where he received treatment for cutting off most of his left ear. Interestingly, the painting is a mirror image as it shows Van Gogh’s bandaged right ear instead of his left.
The composition of this self-portrait is rendered with uncharacteristic realism as all of the artist’s facial features are clearly modeled with careful attention paid to contrast. The luminous green background and bandaged face create tension and an unworldly atmosphere that reflects Van Gogh’s psychological state. This dark state often led him tragically to self-harm as he was unable to control his torrent of emotions.
Despite its somber subject matter, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear captures Vincent Van Gogh’s artistic power that stemmed from personal struggles. This painting serves as a testament to how art can serve not only as an emotional outlet but also reveal one’s psychological condition. It remains on display at The Courtauld Gallery in London and continues to inspire millions around the world who have struggled or continue to struggle with mental health issues like depression or bipolar disorder which he suffered from throughout most of his adult life till his tragic end by suicide at age 37 on July 29, 1890.