Van Gogh Self Portrait Analysis

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Self Portrait with a Bandaged ear and pipe

Production background
After having dreamt about an artist community for a long time, Van Gogh finally bought a ‘yellow house’ in Arles and invite Paul Gauguin. There Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin lived together, discussed artwork and focused on producing works of art. Gauguin makes a portrait of Van Gogh in front of one of his sunflower canvases, which Van Gogh describes as "certainly me, but me gone mad." However, their frequent personality clashes lead to deepening distrust in their relationship. As the troubled relationship between the two ended in many personality clashes and lead to an eventual mistrust, in 1888, two days before Christmas, Van Gogh felt that he had been abandoned. During a violent disagreement with his friend Gauguin, Vincent heard the words "Kill him" in that ear, which he opted to remove rather than obey. As he experienced a psychotic episode, he threatened Gauguin with a razor and later cut off a piece of his own left ear. Due to this incident Gauguin left and went to Paris and their friendship ended. 7th January 1889, Van Gogh left hospital and drew two self-portraits. One is the self-portrait with the ukiyoye (Japanese print) in the background, and the other is with the red background with his pipe in his mouth. This great artist suffered throughout his life from unruly emotional seizures and great mental strife which led him to enter an asylum for a year and then to commit suicide. Expressive technique

Even though it was drawn after his mental illness, his exceedingly great artistic talent can be seen in the colours used and his brushstrokes. This piece of work is the best to show the contrasting colours among his many portraits. Gogh’s green coat is placed in front of the red background, and behind the blue fur hat, the background is coloured in orange. A part of the hat is purple, and the top part of the orange background and the smoke rising from his pipe are showing a tint of yellow. When...
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