A new study suggests that Vincent Van Gogh may have fabricated the famous story of self-mutilation surrounding his severed ear, which he wrapped in a cloth and presented to a prostitute, in order to protect the artist Paul Gauguin, who’d lopped it off with a sword during an argument in front of a brothel. From Telegraph:
German art historians say the true version of events never surfaced as
the two men both kept a “pact of silence” – Gauguin to avoid
prosecution and Van Gogh in a vain attempt to keep a friend with whom
he was hopelessly infatuated. … Other Van Gogh experts, including those at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, disagree with the authors’ claims. However, Nina Zimmer, the
curator of a major Van Gogh exhibition in Basel, was less sure:
“Perhaps they’re right, but all the hypotheses are valid given the lack
of material,” she told Le Figaro.