(in chronological order)

Albrecht Dürer:
Self-portrait as an Ecce Homo, c.1500

Leonardo da Vinci:
Self-portrait, c.1512

Rembrandt van Rijn:
Self-portrait, 1659

Vincent van Gogh:
Self-portrait with bandaged ear, 1889

Pablo Picasso:
Self-portrait, 1901

Egon Schiele:
Self-portrait, 1911

Max Beckmann:
Self-portrait with glass of champagne, 1919

Frida Kahlo:
The broken column (Self-portrait), 1944

Francis Bacon:
Self-portrait, 1971

Jean-Michelle Basquiat:
Self-portrait, 1982


“Self-portrait with bandaged ear”

January 1889 - oil on canvas, 60-49 cm., London, Courtald Institute Galleries

Vincent van Gogh: “Self-portrait with bandaged ear”, January 1889

The story of Van Gogh and his self-bandaged ear is so famous that we only need to make a brief summary of it: In December 1889, Van Gogh threatened Paul Gauguin with a razor –this version told by Gauguin have been discussed by some experts- and then he cut off the lower part of his own left ear, which he wrapped in a newspaper and gave it to a prostitute named Rachel in the local brothel, asking her to "keep this object carefully." Gauguin left Arles and did not see Van Gogh ever again.

This is one of the two self-portraits that van Gogh painted after the 'ear incident' (the other one, previously in the collection of Leigh B. Block in Chicago, was later bought by the Niarchos family). The expression of the artist's face is, paradoxically, calmer than in many other self-portraits by the artist; which can be interpreted as an effort of the painter to find in the painting his particular salvation. It is also remarkable the presence of a Japanese stamp in a self-portrait. In a letter to his brother Theo, Vincent affirmed that he envied the Japanese painters for “his style, as simple as breathing”


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