Van Gogh’s ear ‘regrown’

Photo: Diemut Strebe/Centre for Art and Media.
Diemut Strebe's art work features a copy of Vincent van Gogh's ear.

A German museum has put a copy of Vincent van Gogh’s ear on display. The ear was grown using some of the Dutch artist’s genetic material. It is made of living cells which were grown from samples provided by the great-great-grandson of the artist’s brother, Theo.

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Lieuwe van Gogh shares about one-sixteenth of the same genes and, according to the museum, he “loved the project straight away”.

New technology played a big part in the project. A 3D printer was used to shape the cells, which were grown at a hospital in the US city of Boston, so that they resemble the artist’s missing left ear.

Famously, iconic 19th Century artist Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear during a psychotic episode in 1888.

Innovative artist Diemut Strebe said she wanted to combine art and science. Strebe said: “I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint.”

The novelty exhibition is at the Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe until July 6 and is due to go on display in New York City in 2015.

At the current exhibition visitors can speak into the ear through a microphone.



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