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Why did Van Gogh cut off his ear?

vgUK scientist Martin Baily is claims that Vincent Van Gogh may have cut off a portion of his left ear due to the fact that he was afraid to lose the support of his brother Theo.

According to Baily, Vincent learned that Theo planned to get married shortly before he cut off his ear, which prompted him to do so out of fear that his brother may not support him after his marriage.

The scientist claims that the evidence is present in the 1889 painting Still Life with a Plate of Onions which was created shortly after Van Gogh hacked at his ear with the razor blade.  Within the painting is an envelope that Baily believes may have been the letter containing news about the impending nuptials.

The painting belongs to the Dutch Kroller Museum collection where Bailey studied it and noted that the envelop has a circle with the number 67 on it which is the official postal stamp of a post office located close to Theo’s Monmartre apartment.

The Parisian postal museum stated that the mark was only used on letters sent in December which confirms that Van Gogh received the letter around the time that he sliced off his ear on December 23rd.

Baily was led to his conclusion also due to a letter that is still preserved that Theo wrote to his finance in which he mentions that after visiting Vincent his brother knew that he was talking about marriage and that he told Theo marriage should not be viewed as the most important part of life.


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