It’s no “Starry Night,” but Vincent van Gogh fans have a new piece of artwork to visit: the ear that the 19th century artist is said to have cut off in a psychotic fit.
Artist Diemut Strebe created a replica of the ear using the DNA of the great-great-grandson of the artist’s brother, Theo, and a 3-D printer. It’s on display at the Centre for Art and Media in Germany, where viewers can talk to it through a microphone.
Strebe’s first idea was to use van Gogh’s own DNA, which she thought was present on an envelope he used. But when the DNA was shown to be someone else’s, relative Lieuwe van Gogh volunteered. He shares about 1/16 of the same genes as the artist.
The cells were grown at a hospital in Boston, and then shaped with a printer to resemble the ear.
“I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint,” Strebe told The Associated Press.
The ear, which is preserved in a case of liquid, is on display in Germany until July 6, and will move to New York next year.
Photo: A living replica of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s famously severed ear is displayed at Culture and media museum ZKM, in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, on June 4, 2014. Credit: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images