Self-portrait with bandaged ear

A new theory has surfaced suggesting that famed artist Vincent Van Gogh did not in fact cut off his own ear. Experts are now saying that van Gogh’s close friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin, with whom he was apparently infatuated, is the culprit.

The prevailing theory claims that Van Gogh cut off his own ear with a razor in a fit of anger and madness and handed it to a prostitute in a nearby brothel.

However experts in Hamburg claim that Gauguin, who was an excellent fencer, left van Gogh’s “Yellow House” in France after an unhappy stay. He was followed by a troubled van Gogh, who had earlier thrown a glass at Gauguin. The fight intensified and Gauguin cut off Van Gogh’s left earlobe with his sword – either in anger or self-defence.

German art historians say that the story never surfaced because both men kept a “pact of silence”, Gauguin to avoid prosecution and Van Gogh in a vain attempt to keep a friend with whom he was hopelessly infatuated.

While there is no direct evidence to back up this theory, experts claim that this is the most logical interpretation, and would explain the fact that Van Gogh’s last written words to Gauguin were “You are quiet, I will be, too”.

Experts have also pointed out that in one of Van Gogh’s sketches of an ear, the word “ictus” – the Latin term used in fencing to mean a hit – is written above it. They also believe that curious zigzags above the ear represent Gauguin’s Zoro-like sword-stroke.

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