TIME History

Head On Over to Germany to Check Out a Live Replica of Vincent van Gogh’s Severed Ear

Germany Van Gogh's Ear
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 center for art and media in Karlsruhe, Germany, Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Diemut Strebe / AP

Thanks to DNA provided by one of the artist's distant relatives

You’ve probably heard the legend of how Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his own ear. Or how perhaps someone else cut off his ear. Either way, somebody cut off van Gogh’s ear, and that has fascinated everybody ever since.

If you’re especially fascinated by van Gogh’s ear, then you should find some time in your schedule to head over to the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, to see a copy of it grown from DNA samples provided by one of van Gogh’s living relatives.

Artist Diemut Strebe crafted the replica with living cells from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo, the Associated Press reports. She used a 3D-printer to shape the cells into an ear-like shape, and then, because of this process, basically deemed herself an artist just like van Gogh.

“I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint,” Strebe told the AP. Okay, sure.

The ear is now being kept alive with nourishing fluid and could, in theory, remain preserved for years, so that gives you plenty of time to go check it out. This current exhibition only lasts until July 6, and then the artist is considering putting it on display in New York.

Oh, and if this was not creepy enough for you already, you can “talk” to the ear.

 

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