Exploring the Bob Dylan songs written about Vincent van Gogh paintings
(Credit: Alamy / Far Out / Wikimedia

Bob Dylan is certainly an artist who understood the value of mystique. “I’m never going to become rich and famous,” he said in 1962 prior to the release of his debut record. He then continued to lie through his teeth throughout the Folksingers Choice radio show, telling the kindly, unsuspecting host that he ran away to be with the carnival where he worked as a young boy for six years. Whether or not he meant his dismissal of fortunes that way, you could certainly play it off as an artist declaring that he was in the craft for the love of it and the love of it alone. This is a notion that has often been missed when it comes to Vincent van Gogh as people wrongfully bemoan that the false light of fame evaded him throughout his career. Nevertheless, the problems the lowly painter faced certainly added to his oeuvre. The perfect paradigm for this came to the fore when his paintings were exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1935. This was the chance of a lifetime for the art elite to witness their hero’s creations. However, the majority of the public were more concerned with a morbid fascination with his severed ear. Thus, the show attracted monster crowds numbering more than 123,000 visitors. With vast crowds gasping at the chance to witness the art of a mad man who heard the world in mono, it was difficult for true art fiends to fully analyse his works. Thus, an annoyed art hipster named Hugh Troy set about moulding a piece of dried beef into an ear-like shape. He then placed it in a velveteen box, snuck into MoMA one evening, and hung the fake ear in the gallery above a plaque proclaiming […]

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