This expert believes he knows the real reason behind why Van Gogh cut off his own ear.
It is known that following an argument with fellow loger and artist Gaugin, Vincent Van Gogh retreated to his room and severed his left ear off with a razor. After wrapping it in paper, and delivering it to a woman at a brothel he had an ongoing thing with, he was found unconscious by a policeman who had him transported to a hospital.
At the hospital, Van Gogh woke up with no memory of what had happened, and a diagnosis of “acute mania with generalised delirium”. He was placed under hospital care in Arles, and after months of ins and outs to the hospital, he voluntarily entered an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It was there he painted the iconic “The Starry Night” in 1889.
While it has been long believed that the argument with Gaugin might have motivated the Dutch artist to self-mutilate, writer Martin Bailey claims otherwise. He believes that Vincent was influenced by news of his brother Theo’s engagement. He had been known to have always looked for emotional and financial support in his brother, which might have pushed him off the edge.
It was previously believed that Van Gogh had only learned about his brother’s engagement after his mutilation, but in the book Studio of the South, written by Bailey, it is claimed that he had found out the news from a letter Theo delivered the same day, along with 100 francs.
More new revelations about the life of the artist can be read in Studio of the South, which tells the story of Van Gogh’s period in Arles, between 1888-9.