Vincent van Gogh’s severed ear becomes museum piece

BY Justin Scuiletti  June 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM EDT
Vincent van Gogh cut off his own ear during a psychotic episode in 1888.

Vincent van Gogh cut off his own ear during a psychotic episode in 1888.

Vincent van Gogh’s severed ear has been revived — with the help of some van Gogh genetic material.

A replica of the painter’s ear has been put on display at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. Lacking any DNA from Vincent directly, the appendage was grown using cells from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo van Gogh, who shares about 1/16th of the same genetic material. Once grown, the ear was shaped through a 3D-printer to recreate the infamous ear that the artist cut off himself in 1888.

“I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint,” Diemut Strebe, the artist behind the project, told the Associated Press. The exhibit will remain in Germany through July 6.