New Vincent van Gogh Investigation Probes His Heart and Art

Vincent van Gogh, Irises 1889. Oil on canvas 28 × 36.625 in (71.1 × 93 cm).

Irises, an oil n canvas painting by Vincent van Gogh is one of the exceptional works by the famous artist. via Wikimedia Commons


Mental health and art engender a new Vincent van Gogh investigation and the truth about Van Gogh’s Ears.


Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with a cut off ear1889. Oil on canvas 51 × 45 cm (20.1 × 17.7 in).  The Yorck Project. via Wikimedia Commons

Did Vincent van Gogh cut off his entire ear or just the lobe? A new documentary about the famous artist attempts to answer this question. Van Gogh’s Ears will be aired on PBS on Wednesday, December 14. It is the fourth installment of PBS series Secrets of the Dead.

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Van Gogh’s Ears focuses on that night of December 1888 when van Gogh cut off his own ear. However, one issue that has dogged art historians for many years is if Van Gogh chopped off part of or his entire ear.

At the center of the new documentary is the researcher Bernadette Murphy. In her investigation of what really happened that faithful night, Bernadette goes into details of the how and why. There is a particular spotlight on Vincent van Gogh’s state of mind and deteriorating mental health.

Although there is a particular focus on van Gogh’s ear , the documentary is also about art and van Gogh’s immense creative talent.   Bernadette raises questions of why Vincent van Gogh was very productive during the period when the artist was at Arles, France. Was Vincent van Gogh’s creative prowess an indication of a troubled soul or genius?  This one question Van Gogh’s Ear seeks to answer.

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