Mystery solved: Vincent van Gogh cut off his entire left ear
Vincent van Gogh did not cut off only his earlobe, but his entire left ear, according to a letter by the artist's doctor that forms part of the Van Gogh Museum's exhibit On the verge of insanity.
According to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Dr. Felix Rey treated Van Gogh after the infamous ear incident. From pictures on the letter, the conclusion can be drawn that the painter cut off the entire ear. Next to the drawing Rey wrote: "The ear was cut off with a razor as shown by the dotted line."
The letter is a new discovery, found in an American archive by writer Bernadette Murphy while she was researching her new book Van Gogh's Ear, The True Story, Het Parool reports.
"When I tried to get him to talk about the motive that drove him to cut off his ear, he replied that it was a purely personal matter", Dr. Rey said in December 1888, according to the museum.
In addition to Dr. Rey's letter, the exhibit also includes a portrait of Rey that Van Gogh painted as a thank you, as well as what is believed to be the gun he used to commit suicide in 1890.