Everyone knows that Vincent van Gogh cut his own ear off, but until recently, no one really knew why. The mystery has been the subject of much conversation, which has been, admittedly, just so much fun to talk about and reference. Why would anyone want to spoil it?
Well, author Martin Bailey does, and he thinks that he stumbled on the inciting incident while doing research for his new book, Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence. He believes that on Christmas eve in 1888, after finding out that his brother Theo was getting married, Van Gogh took a razor to the head. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Van Gogh was livid that he would lose his closest companion, making the mystery behind this horrific act less fun than it used to be.
“He was equally worried that his brother might withdraw the financial support which had enabled him to devote his life to art,” said Bailey. “All this was threatened by the unexpected appearance of a fiancée.”
There goes Bailey, ruining our fun times by uncovering the reason why one of the most important figures of all time cut his ear off. Look at this gif. Is this even fun anymore?
This theory came about when Bailey learned of a letter from Theo to Vincent dated just days before the act of self-mutilation occurred. The letter was received on December 23, 1888. Bailey simply put two and two together.
“We don’t have that letter," Bailey told CNN. "But in another one Van Gogh sends in January, he mentions receiving money from his brother on the 23rd of December. It was fear that pulled the trigger and led to the breakdown. Fear of being abandoned in both an emotional and financial way.”
I guess that just puts an end to all the fun of why one of history’s great artist cut his own ear off. Yeesh. This is us, rn: