Was Van Gogh Deaf? The story of Van Gogh’s Ear

This week, we receive an article from Florence, who leads Audioprothésiste Le Raincy, close to Paris.

Many people believe that the world-famous post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh was deaf. As with other widespread theories, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.

What’s clear is that Van Gogh lost his ear during December 1888. However, there are some question marks about the details of the event that resulted in the result. A man named Paul Gauguin claimed that Van Gogh rushed towards him while holding an open razor, although the report was never verified.

Gaughin claims that Van Goh was acting crazy. One theory based on personal accounts is that Gauguin accidentally cut off Van Gogh’s ear while trying to defend himself from the “madman.” In fact, in his last letter to Gauguin, Van Gogh said that the two of them should “keep quiet” about the incident.

Many accounts seem to imply that this is what truly caused Van Gogh’s severed ear. Van Gogh kept his pact of silence but hinted later that Gaughin had indeed removed his ear, which refutes the historical accounts that the wound was self-inflicted.

Many history accounts state that Van Gogh returned to his room in Arles, France home where he heard voices. After 10:00 PM he then severed his left ear using a razor although it’s unclear if it was entirely or in part. This resulted in major bleeding.

Van Gogh then bandaged his head wound, wrapped up the ear in a piece of paper, and delivered the package to a woman who lived in a brothel he often visited. During the next day, a policeman found Van Gogh unconscious. The famous artist was then rushed to the hospital where a young doctor treated him. However, too much time had already passed, so he was unable to reattach the ear to Van Gogh’s head. The hospital gave Van Gogh the diagnosis “acute mania with generalized delirium.”

He returned to the “Yellow House” in January 1889. He suffered from hallucinations as well as delusions that he had been poisoned. It seems he might have felt that he should have been punished for ending another friendship and dream. Have a look at ttp://www.biography.com/people/vincent-van-gogh-9515695

It is unclear what was going in Van Gogh’s mind. He had a religious background so he might have remembered the story of Peter cutting off a Roman soldier’s ear. A popular book of that time was about a character that was published by getting his ear removed. Also, one month earlier Jack the Ripper had cut off a woman’s ear.

Some experts believe that Van Gogh suffered from Meniere’s disease ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/29/vincent-van-gogh-trivia_n_6181630.html ), which could have caused him to sever his ear. Reports show that Van Gogh suffered from tinnitus, which the painter described as a ringing/roaring in his ears, impaired hearing, and low tolerance for loud sounds. These are all classic symptoms of Meniere’s.

Van Gogh is famous for painting masterpieces including “Sunflowers,” “Starry Night,” and “The Potato Eaters.” He also made a self-portrait that shows his bandaged ear after the incident with his friend. He died in 1890 after shooting himself at the age of 37.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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