15. Van Gogh sliced off his ear
Van Gogh is known as the archetypal starving artist, only selling one painting in his lifetime, and - in a quarrel with Gauguin - slicing off his ear, not long before committing suicide. Though he did face a tragic end, and his own paintings sold poorly, it is worth noting that he spent most of his life teaching and dealing art. He only spent eight years of his life painting, which helps to explain why he didn't starve to death. Also, he didn't slice off his entire ear, just a portion of his left lobe. Painful, but not nearly as bad as you might have thought.