Vincent Willem van Gogh, the great Dutch post-Impressionist painter, suffered from poor health, as well as painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness.
After several attempts to kill himself, he moved to France to improve his health and find an art school.
In France van Gogh met the post-Impressionist artist Gauguin. It is said that when at some point the men struggled, van Gogh ultimately cut off the corner of his own ear lobe.
Another theory is that Gauguin actually nipped van Gogh’s ear with a fencing sword, and van Gogh protected Gauguin with the self-mutilation story.