Van Gogh's ear
Many folks often suffer melancholia during the holiday season. Hopefully, they won't suffer as much as Vincent van Gogh did on this day in 1888 when he cut off his ear.
Van Gogh had just moved to Arles, in the south of France hoping to establish an artists' colony there. It started out well. He was immediately struck by the hot reds and yellows of the Mediterranean, which he increasingly used to represent his own moods.
In October, he was joined briefly by Gauguin. They collaborated on several paintingd; but the visit was not a success. An argument led to the infamous episode when van Gogh lopped off his ear. Early the next year, he checked himself in at the St. Remy asylum.
Van Gogh continued to paint then moved to Auvers, to be closer to his brother Theo in 1890. He spent his last 70 days painting furiously. It was the most productive period of his life. He died, having sold only one work, following a botched suicide attempt.