“Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe” by Vincent van Gogh
Self-Portraits can be very telling, especially when analyzed by me. Let’s start with this one, which comes complete with a well-known story. Vincent was living in Arles with Paul Gauguin, they were drinking, they fought, Vincent cut off part of his ear and gifted it to a local prostitute. This S-P, painted a few days later, with its blood-red background and smoking pipe has become a symbol of the “tortured artist”. I see more taunt than torture. “Get your own girl Gauguin! I’m a crazy Mo-Fo, don’t mess with me!” It worked. Gauguin left, Vincent got the girl, and thanks to this stunt will go on to become the most famous artist in the world. Well played Van Gogh.