Scientists Make Living Cell Replica of Van Gogh’s Ear

The famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is believed to have cut off his own ear during a psychotic episode he had in the year 1888. Now, the Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany has put a replica of van Gogh’s ear on display that was made using a three dimensional printer and living human cells from one of the artist’s relatives.

The famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is believed to have cut off his own ear during a psychotic episode he had in the year 1888.

Now the Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany has put a replica of van Gogh’s ear on display that was made using a three dimensional printer and living human cells from one of the artist’s relatives.

Visitors to the exhibition can talk into the ear using a microphone.

The ear was grown at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital using cells that were taken from a living relative named Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of the painter’s brother.

The artist responsible for creating the ear replica is Diemut Strebe, who reportedly has plans for next year to display the ear in New York, since it is being stored in a nourishing liquid solution that might be able keep it alive for years.

Strebe is quoted as saying: “I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint.”

Plans to use genetic material directly from the deceased painter didn’t pan out because DNA from an envelope thought to be from van Gogh was found to belong to someone else.


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