Because while Self Portraits subject matter comes across as more wild, van Gogh appears to be more subdued and solemn in this painting, with the monochromatic colours used in which, as opposed to the clashing ones used in the former. Being painted in a far more realistic manner, where every aspect of the painting has been carefully modelled, the subject matter here can be said to be more of an imitative nature rather than an abstract one. Inherently, we see here that as the title puts forth, van Gogh has painted in detail his bandaged ear, giving it prominence in the painting. However, unlike the face in Affandis Self Portrait, this is not the only focus as the background has also been meticulously painted on the canvas, what with the painting within the painting being intricately coloured in as well. Hence the subject matter in this painting of van Gogh is a portrait of himself positioned against a realistic and possibly imitated background, with prominence given to his own key visible physical features that are meant to be captured by the painting (i.e his bandaged ear).
b. What visual language have the artists used to express their ideas to the viewer? 
The two artists have used radically different methods to express their ideas to the viewer, and in that sense have also employed differing visual language. Affandi has chosen to adopt the more emotive visual language in Self Portrait, while van Gogh has used an imitative visual language. While Affandis work appears to be more visually striking with all the bold use of colour (largely in impasto fashion), van Goghs painting comes across as a consolidated outlet of more subtle visual language. This is as evidenced by the opposing painting techniques that both artists have deployed in their work. In Self Portrait, Affandi has made use of his very own squeeze technique, directly squeezing strokes of paint onto the canvas to form the subject matter as depicted by his painting. D View More »