I. What are the principal findings
of your study?


The key result of our study is the following:

The traditional legend of Van Gogh’s self-mutilation is a doubtful myth that is not backed by real evidence. The events of 23/24 December 1888 in Arles did not happen as told by Gauguin and as repeated in the historiography ever since: It was not Vincent Van Gogh who cut off his ear himself with a razor, but his colleague and housemate Paul Gauguin, a short-tempered and ruthless character and skilled fencer, who during a confrontation outside the brothel of Arles, cut off van Gogh’s left ear with his sharp fencing weapon, either accidentally or on purpose. Gauguin, in order to escape criminal prosecution, subsequently invented and spread the legend of Van Gogh’s self-mutilation and of his “madness”.


Which methods did you use for your research?

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What made you reopen a ‘cold case’ and start your research on the partnership between Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles?

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