Van Gogh’s ear brought back to life

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iol scitech june 10 Vincent van Gogh AP Undated picture shows an ear made of human cells grown from samples provided from a distant relative from Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, in the centre for art and media in Karlsruhe, Germany.

London - He’s almost as famous for cutting off his ear in a mad fit as he is for his sunflower paintings and self-portraits.

Now, more than a century later, a replica of Vincent van Gogh’s severed ear has been given a new lease of life in a somewhat macabre artwork.

Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo, donated cartilage from his own ear to make the “living art piece”.

The cells were grown in a US hospital, then shaped using a 3D printer to resemble the tortured Dutch artist’s ear, which he is believed to have slashed off with a razor in 1888.

The replica, which was made by artist Diemut Strebe, has gone on display at the Centre For Art And Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, and is being kept in a biological preservative. Strebe says: “I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint.”

Lieuwe and Vincent van Gogh share about one-sixteenth of the same genes, including the Y-chromosome that is passed down the male lineage.

Now work is under way with one of the painter’s female relatives to include mitochondrial DNA — passed down the mother’s line — for future installations.

The ear will be exhibited until July 6. - Daily Mail

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