Van Gogh Ear Recreated And On Show

by Cass Art

The worlds of art and science have collided once again as a copy of Vincent van Gogh's ear has been developed, using some of his genetic material.

 Van Gogh, who suffered mental illness and depression and famously cut off part of his left ear in 1888, has now had a scientifically grown replica put on show in a museum in Karlsruhe, Germany.

 Vincent's brother Theo had a great-great-grandson called Lieuwe van Gogh who provided cartilage cells from which living cells were grown.

 The museum, the Centre for Art and Media, believe that Lieuwe and Vincent share roughly one sixtheenth of the same genes which include the Y chromosome passed on through the male lineage.

 The replica of the Dutch artist's ear, created by artist Diemut Strebe, is due to go on display in New York in 2015. It is currently being displayed in the German museum until 6th July.

 Strebe worked with scientists to grow the ear with Lieuwe's DNA as well as computer imaging technology.

 The result, entitled Sugababe, is an ear consisting of lice cells and engineered parts which museum visitors can even speak to through a microphone.

 The sound goes through a nutrient solution storing the ear and the broadcast happens in the installation space.

 The troubled Vincent committed suicide by shooting himself at the age of 37. His brother Theo actually died six months afterwards, and the pair were buried next to each other in France.

 Although he made around 900 paintings in only 10 years, van Gogh sold just one in his lifetime, and Theo's wife worked to get Vincent's art recognised after collecting his paintings and letters.

Vincent was eventually made world-famous not just through his Post-Impressionist paintings but through the cinema, as he was played by Hollywood great Kirk Douglas in Lust For Life (1956), and again in Robert Altman's Vincent & Theo (1990) by Tim Roth.

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