Van Gogh’s Ear: What Really Happened?


There are two schools of thought about how Vincent van Gogh lost part of his left ear on December 23, 1888. Some believe that Paul Gauguin cut off van Gogh’s ear in self-defense during a quarrel.  Others think that he slashed his own left ear lobe after learning that his  brother, Theo, was getting married. Whether the wound was self-inflicted or not, there is no doubt that Van Gogh, bleeding from his wound,  staggered into a bordello and gave a prostitute friend named Rachel his severed ear, telling her to ‘keep this object carefully’.