Who cut Van Gogh ear off?

And suddenly there is a discussion: 'who cut van Gogh's ear of'? While experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam stick with self mutilation, two German scientists claim that it was Paul Gauguin and not Vincent van Gogh himself who cut off the world famous Dutch painter's ear. In my opinion, what's the relevance of it?

In a new book, Van Goghs Ohr: Paul Gauguin und der Pakt des Schweigens (Van Gogh's ear: Paul Gauguin and the pact of silence), German scientists Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans tell the story of what happened Christmas Eve 1888 in the French city of Arles where van Gogh was residing. After ten years of research (..!) the scientists say they are sure it was painter Paul Gauguin who cut off his friend and colleague's ear after a fight.
According to the official version, the Dutch painter cut off his own ear with a razor after a row with Gauguin in 1888. Van Gogh then walked into a brothel and presented the severed ear to a prostitute called Rachel before going home to sleep.
Van Gogh was living in the "yellow house" in Arles at the time and Gauguin, whom Van Gogh admired, was his guest. Kaufman and Wildegans say the two painters were having an argument about a prostitute called Rachel and about their visions on painting. Gauguin announced he was leaving Arles for good but Van Gogh stopped him on the street.
Kaufman told The Guardian: "Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the yellow house, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this 'madman'. He drew his weapon [a sabre], made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear." Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or intentional.

Kaufman and Wildegans point to a scetch Van Gogh made of the severed ear with the word "ictus", the Latin term for a 'hit' in fencing.
They also cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" he apparently made made with Gauguin.
Kaufmann told the Daily Telegraph: "He writes that it's lucky Gauguin doesn't have a machine gun or other firearms."
Is this 'news'? Two scientists working on this subject for 10 years? What's the scientifical importance of this?


VLR said…
Science, as such, is - like art - not important, which makes it in turn extremely valuable.
Mind you, quite a few people have been spending more than 10 years doing far more terrible things than fact finding.
As for the news item, I find it more interesting than many other news items about would be important people.

Geert Jan Keutelaer said…
'Mind you, quite a few people have been spending more than 10 years doing far more terrible things than fact finding.'

If I look what my bosses are doing...I agree full hearthly with you, and its time that my work get some extra attention!
And what think Van Gogh he is? A man with one ear, nothing more nothing less. My son paints much better...)))
Claude said…
If the argument was about a woman, it's lucky that Van Gogh lost only his ear, not something else that would have truly paralysed his future relationships with other women....))))

To your good health, Hans!...:)
Unknown said…
Claudia, he didnt had any normal relations with women..))

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