Museum Displays Ear Grown From Van Gogh DNA

It's from the great-great-grandson of brother Theo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2014 6:07 PM CDT
An ear made of human cells grown from samples provided from a distant relative of Vincent van Gogh is on display at a museum in Karlsruhe, Germany.   (AP Photo/Diemut Strebe.Sugababe)

(Newser) – A German museum has put on display a copy of Vincent van Gogh's ear that was grown using genetic material provided by one of the 19th-century Dutch artist's living relatives. The Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe said artist Diemut Strebe made the replica using living cells from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent's brother Theo. Using a 3D-printer, the cells were shaped to resemble the ear that Vincent van Gogh is said to have cut off during a psychotic episode in 1888.

"I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint," Strebe tells the Associated Press. The US-based artist said the ear, which was grown at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, is being kept alive inside a case containing a nourishing liquid and could theoretically last for years. The exhibition, at which visitors can speak into the ear through a microphone, lasts until July 6. Strebe said she plans to display the ear in New York next year.

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