Link #1: Vincent Van Gogh Cut Off His Own Ear!

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Legendary Painter Vincent Van Gogh Cut Off His Own Ear!

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Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) Self-portrait  Spring 1887
Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) Self-portrait Spring 1887

They say that pictures speak louder than words. However, there are situations when your imagination can be even greater than any picture you can come across.

Consider the legend of Vincent Van Gogh, the painter whose story of the missing ear is even better known than his paintings.


Who was Vincent Van Gogh?

The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh  April 1885
The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh April 1885

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most revered and respected painters in history. His style of painting is called “post-impressionist”, and one of his most famous works is The Potato Eaters.

While Van Gogh is known for creating paintings that displayed bold colors and daringly rough styles, he is more famous for his uniqueness. People see him as a disturbed artist, because of the story that he actually chopped off his own ear!


Why did Van Gogh Cut Off His Own Ear?

Most historians believe the official story that Van Gogh cut off his own ear after a heated argument with fellow artist, Paul Gauguin.

Supposedly, the event occurred in 1888, just before Christmas, while the two artists were in France together. They had a spat about something. Because Van Gogh was slightly disturbed, he took up a razor blade and lopped off either his left earlobe or his whole left year in an outburst of anger.

Self-portrait with bandaged ear and pipe (1889)
Self-portrait with bandaged ear and pipe (1889)

He tied a bandage around his head, wrapped the severed ear in some paper and went out to give it to a woman. He also gave the woman strict instructions to hold it until Gauguin showed up. The ear was going to be a memento for Gauguin.

After this act, Van Gogh went back to his apartment and went to sleep. He was found the next morning by the police, in his bed surrounded by his blood. He was taken to the hospital where he repeatedly asked to see Gauguin, who, understandably, chose not to come.


…Or Did Paul Gauguin Do It While Fighting Him?

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Self Portrait 1893
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) Self Portrait 1893

Now you know the commonly believed story of Van Gogh’s severed ear. However, as is the case with all historical facts, this one is contested by some historians. Some of them say that Van Gogh didn’t cut off his own ear, but that the story was created by Van Gogh and Gauguin. Why?

Well, these historians claim that Gauguin severed Van Gogh’s ear while brandishing a sword during an argument. Gauguin was an avid fencer. The two went on to make a “pact of silence” to keep the matter hidden. Gauguin did this to protect himself, while Van Gogh did it because he didn’t want to lose Gauguin as a friend.


Which Story Do You Believe?

Between these two stories, which one do you believe? Keep in mind that there are other possible proofs that Van Gogh, despite being an artistic genius, was mentally unhinged. His family members at the time have revealed that he had already had one nervous breakdown, while neighbors nicknamed him the “redheaded madman”!

Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (Paris, Summer 1887)
Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (Paris, Summer 1887)

This story illustrates clearly – be careful of facts – they are only facts as long as most people believe them. Scientists and historians regularly find evidence to change a fact into fiction (and the other way round) – read widely and search out the facts for yourself!




Can you Guess the Next Link in the Chain?

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Next Link in the Chain of Facts

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Van Gogh’s Paintings


Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=7506786
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/237118/Vincent-van-Gogh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh

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