10 Questions About Van Gogh’s Ear Answered

Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most well-known painters in Western Art. Van Gogh was born on 30th March 1853, and killed himself at the age of 37. He’s done almost 860 oil paintings and 2100 artworks over a decade. His artwork included portraits, self-portraits, and landscapes that laid the foundation for modern impressionist art. The most widely debated fact about Van Gogh is his ear.

Van Gogh religious That’s right - his ear. Well, here’s all you need to know!

Why Did Van Gogh Cut Off His Ear?

This is the first question that comes to mind when Van Gogh is mentioned. There are theories that seem as valid for why he cut off his ear. Some say that he was afraid of losing attention after learning that his brother Theo was going to marry a woman called Jo. German scholars suggested that Van Gogh sliced his ear after getting into a fight with his friend, Paul Gauguin. There are other theories that suggest that he cut his ear to present it to a prostitute named Rachel.

When Did He Cut His Ear?

Based on police reports and hospital records, Van Gogh cut his ear shortly before Christmas on the 23rd of December, 1888.

How Did He Cut Off His Ear?

Van Gogh cut off his ear using a razor blade. Some researchers say that he took the razor and slit his ear instantly.

Did He Cut Off His Entire Ear?

No. Though most people believe that Van Gogh cut off his entire ear, that’s a common misconception. He only severed part of his ear lobe.

Edit: According to the drawing below by Van Gogh's doctor Felix Rey, his ear entire ear was cut off!

And there is more evidence Van Gogh cut off his entire ear, shown in this great documentary by the BBC: The Mystery of Van Gogh's Ear.

What Did He Do With It?

As soon as he cut it off, he bled profusely. Van Gogh wrapped it in a cloth and walked into a nearby brothel. He presented the ear to a worker at the brothel named Rachel and fainted immediately. Later, he woke up, went home, and slept in his bed. The next morning, police found him after being alerted by Rachel.

What Happened After The Police Found Him?

As soon as the police found him, they rushed him to a nearby hospital to get him treated. After recovery, Van Gogh was discharged from the hospital and immediately started working on his “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear”. He created the portrait because he strongly felt that this was an important event in his life.

What Did Paul Gauguin Do When He Learned About This Incident?

Paul Gauguin sent a telegram to Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, asking him to come immediately. After that, he left for Paris and never returned.

Why Does Van Gogh Have A Bandage On His Right Ear?

Van Gogh always used a mirror for his self-portraits. That's why many people make a mistake thinking that he sliced a part of his right ear, instead of his left.

Did His Friend Have Something To Do With It?

German scholars suggest that Van Gogh's friend, Paul Gauguin, sliced Van Gogh’s ear with a sword. The theory states that they got into a fight and Gauguin sliced his ear. They decided not to tell the truth to hide Van Gogh's shame and Gauguin's guilt.

What Letter Did Van Gogh Send To Paul Gauguin After This Incident?

In the first letter, he wrote: “I will keep quiet about this and so will you.”. But after a few years, Paul Gauguin wrote about Van Gogh to another friend saying “ A man with sealed lips, I cannot complain.”

After this incident, Van Gogh got himself admitted into a mental institution in Saint-Remy. It was there he created most of his well-known pieces of art.
    26-06-2017 16:37     Comments ( 0 )
Comments (0)

No comments found.