Van Gogh's ear for music
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Van Gogh's Ear for Music

Van Gogh’s Ear for Music


The expression ‘Van Gogh’s ear for music’ is used to describe someone who is tone-deaf. The reason for this is the painter losing his ear, either by cutting it off himself, or by losing it during a fight with fellow artist Gauguin, depending on your source of information.

Example in use:  “Jeff tried to sing, but he had Van Gogh’s ear for music and was soon ushered out of the audition.”

Interesting fact

This phrase originates from the famous episode when the artist Van Gogh, cut off his left ear due to mental illnesses. Thereafter, whenever he sang, he was terribly off key.