Study Reveals Secrets of Van Gogh’s Ear Myth

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Amsterdam, 4 Nov (Prensa Latina) An investigation of the University Hospital of Groningen, Netherlands, provides details today of the myth of Van Gogh’s ear and the disorders that the Dutch artist experienced until his death on July 29, 1890.

After analyzing some 902 letters, medical reports and interviews with experts on the painter’s life and work, the team of doctors determined that Vincent struggled with a combination of multiple psychiatric disorders known as comorbidity.

The post-impressionist master developed episodes of withdrawal psychosis from abruptly stopping drinking, experienced the condition known as ‘delirium tremor’ and symptoms that coincide with bipolar disorder with changes in mood, combined with a possible borderline personality disorder.

Thus, specialists point out that these disorders, associated with alcoholism and malnutrition, led Van Gogh to cut off his left earlobe on December 23, 1888, after an argument with his colleague, French painter Paul Gauguin.

This episode gave rise to the myth of the artist who was confined to a psychiatric hospital, whose condition worsened, with severe depressive moments from which he never recovered and which led him to suicide months later, according to the most accurate theories.

Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry Willem Nolen, leader of the research, said in a statement that no one can say ‘with absolute certainty’ the disorders that Van Gogh suffered, but the conclusions of the study are ‘very likely’.

The researchers ruled out diseases such as schizophrenia, porphyrias, or carbon monoxide poisoning, referred to in previous investigations, although they do not rule out epilepsy, in “extremely variable manifestations of anxiety, delusions and hallucinations.

A possible sample of Van Gogh’s last stage is a self-portrait validated last January as original and that was painted in 1889, by the Dutch master himself when he was being treated for a psychosis in the French sanatorium of Saint-Rémy.

(Taken from PL)


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