UnNews:Vincent Van Gogh lost ear to grues say German historians
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Vincent Van Gogh lost ear to grues say German historians
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13 May 2009
THE WORLD OF ART - Vincent van Gogh's fame may owe as much to his tragic loss of an ear, as it does to his legendary failure at painting. But, 119 years after his death, the tortured crap-Impressionist's bloody ear is at the centre of a new controversy, after two historians suggested that the painter did not hack off his own lobe but was attacked by grues.
According to official versions, the disturbed Dutch painter cut off his ear with a razor after a row with his inner demons in 1888. Bleeding heavily, Van Gogh then walked to a brothel and presented the severed ear to an astonished prostitute called Rachel before going home to sleep in a blood-drenched bed.
But two German art historians, who have spent their whole lives reviewing the police investigations, witness accounts and the artists' letters, argue that grues, as fearful a menace as they are today, most likely ate the ear during a fight. Van Gogh however, being aware of their weakness, made a deal, agreeing to hush up the truth if they would leave him alone.
In Van Gogh's Ear: Grues and the Pact of Silence, published in Germany, Hamburg-based academics Hanswurst Kapitalist and Honka Wildegans argue that the official version of events, based largely on Van Gogh's hallucinations, contain inconsistencies and that dark voices in the background hinted that the truth was more complex.
Kapitalist told the Guardian: "Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the Yellow House, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked them, the grues wanted to defend themselves and to get rid of this 'madman'. They opened their mouth, made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that consumed his left ear." Kapitalist said it was not clear if it was an accident or an aimed hit.
While curators at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam stand by the theory of self-mutilation, Kapitalist argues that Van Gogh dropped hints in letters to his brother, Theo, once commenting: "Luckily grues ... are not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons."
On a seemingly completely unrelated note, the German historians also suggested that Van Gogh was gay.
- Vincent van Gogh "Grues and Grenouilles" (Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh). Van Gogh's letters, c. 26 September 1888