A Vincent Van Gogh scholar has found a document explaining exactly how much of his ear the artist cut off back in 1888. Not only does the newlyV found diagram end a longstanding debate over the extent of van Gogh’s ear mutilation, it also debunks the myth that he gave his ear to a woman named Rachel, a thought-to-be prostitute.In case you need a quick refresher, the story goes that van Gogh cut off his own ear on Christmas Eve 1888 in an act of lunacy, wrapped his still bleeding head in a cloth, walked down to a nearby bordello, and gifted the ear to prostitute named Rachel who immediately passed out.
Van Gogh nearly died from the wound, waking in a hospital bed some time later. From there, the story has taken a life of its own with many historians offering different accounts of the incident. Now, after more than century, we might finally know the truth. The diagram – supposedly created by the physician that treated the wound – was found by Bernadette Murphy from the UK who was researching her new book Van Gogh’s Ear, which was published on 12 July and details van Gogh’s time in Arles, France, where the notorious incident occurred.
“This investigation has been an incredible adventure and discovering the document was an extraordinary moment,” Murphy said. “From my little house in Provence I couldn’t believe I had found something new and important about Vincent van Gogh, but it was a vital detail in my complete re-examination of this most famous of artists, the key people he met in Arles and his tragic end.”
Seen above, the graphic document shows that van Gogh actually cut off most of his ear, leaving only a small part of the lower lobe. This is important because historians have long believed that he only cut off a small piece of his bottom lobe. Now, if the document is to be believed, it was quite the opposite. Edited from: This document proves how much ear van Gogh really cut off