May 4, 2009

"Van Gogh's ear was cut off by friend Gauguin with a sword."

Hot news.
Although the historians [Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans] provide no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation, and explains why in his final recorded words to Gauguin, Van Gogh writes: "You are quiet, I will be, too".

They cite correspondence between Vincent and his brother, Theo, in which the painter hints at what happened without directly breaking the "pact of silence" made with his estranged friend.

He mentions Gauguin's request to recover his fencing mask and gloves from Arles, but not the épée....

He also pointed to one of Van Gogh's sketches of an ear, with the word "ictus" – the Latin term used in fencing to mean a hit. The authors believe that curious zigzags above the ear represent Gauguin's Zoro-like sword-stroke.
Yeah, well, Gauguin was such a jerk to Van Gogh. Just look:

26 comments:

Bob said...

I don't think you could easily cut off someone's ear with a fencing épée, they typically have no sharpened edge. They're intended for sport, after all, not serious work.

rhhardin said...

You want a sabre for ears.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I don't think you could easily cut off someone's ear with a fencing épée, they typically have no sharpened edge. They're intended for sport, after all, not serious work.

Those are modern versions, maybe the ones in the 19th century were a little less domesticated?

HokiePundit said...

We always thought this to be a sordid affair, but how little did we know...

Smilin' Jack said...

An épée has a sharp point but no cutting edge; it's for thrusting and stabbing, not slicing.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

I guess complete and total ignorance about weapons doesn't end with guns.

The funniest part was the phrase "Gauguin's Zoro-like sword-stroke." Were Gauguin an expert fencer, he wouldn't be using a "Zoro-like" move.

At best (worse?), any of the three fencing weapons could have torn the ear lobe off with a freak hit.

Jason, the épée of the early 19th century was deliberately designed to have only a pointed tip--the notion was that you would duel to first blood, not actually kill each other. By the Van Gogh's time, the épée, sabre and foil were all designed for the sport of fencing, not drawing blood.

traditionalguy said...

Monet made a bigger impression on his friend than he made on the art critics of his day.

Bissage said...
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Bissage said...
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Bissage said...
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Bissage said...

(1) The authors believe that curious zigzags above the ear represent Gauguin's Zoro-like sword-stroke.

That is pathetic and unsupported speculation.

Seriously.

THIS was the weapon!

(2) Anthony Quinn. That’s too weird. We saw “Zorba the Greek” last Saturday for the first time.

Alan Bates was astonishing.

And then there was the Mighty Quinn.

The movie was not exactly what Mrs. Bissage and I were expecting.

Especially me, but it was a great movie.

I laughed. I cried. I felt politically-incorrect, culturally-bigoted, imperious repugnance.

And then . . .

I . . .

D . A . N . C . E . D.

(3) No offense intended, but that clip with Kirk Douglas in it struck me as pretty crappy.

Way over the top.

IMHO, a much better movie about the passion of painting – and the passions of a great painter – was “Pollock”.

It has but one flaw.

When he insults his loving and supportive wife by dealing her the ultimate insult . . . the script chickens out.

I suspect the error was intentional . . . so as not to cause offense.

(4) Monet?

God, I absolutely LOVED his work!!1!!!!!

LINK.

So good!

Bissage said...

P.S. Sorry about the deletions everybody. My batting average is in the basement. Ha!

ElcubanitoKC said...

Bissage, Zorba can be watched on Saturdays, but Never on Sunday

Lem said...

Although the historians provide no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation....

Little did they know that the FBI did have the hotel room bugged for video.

A video of Mayor Marion Barry "smoking crack".

john said...

There's an interesting exchange about 5:40. Maybe Quinn and Douglass switched roles in that movie.

ElcubanitoKC said...

So it was Gauguin with a sword in the drawing room?

Eli Blake said...

Oh, that Van Gogh. He was so reticent about expressing himself that we had to wait for Don McLean to tell us what he was really thinking.

Eli Blake said...

It's just that sometimes you don't really know about what somebody's real thoughts are.

For example, I'm guessing that a man from Montana didn't want to do jury duty. Just a hunch:

Apparently you morons didn't understand the first time. I CANNOT take time off from work. I'm not putting my families well-being at stake to participate in this crap. I don't believe in our "justice" system and I don't want to have a g****** thing to do with it. Jury duty is a complete waste of time. I would rather count the wrinkles on my dogs balls than sit on a jury. Get it through your thick skulls. Leave me the f*** alone.

(signed and notarized).

Jeremy said...

Ear today.


Gone tomorrow.

knox said...

This sounds like made-up BS to me. Someone might as well say there's evidence Frank Booth did it.

Oligonicella said...

Although the historians provide no "smoking gun" to back up their claims, they argue theirs is the most logical interpretation, and explains why in his final recorded words to Gauguin, Van Gogh writes: "You are quiet, I will be, too".

Yeah. Couldn't possibly mean "You won't talk to me? Well screw you, I won't talk to you either."

Even a blunt, sport épée will poke a hole in an ear rather easily with a lunge. It would take a very forceful and deliberate slash to remove one.

Penny said...

Indeed, Ollie.

So NOW WTF we gonna do with VG?

The man is BENT, don't you know.

Pogo said...

Gauguin: So, Vincent, how d'ya like me now, chump, you jus' been pwned dude!


Van Gogh: What?

Jordan said...

Goghpwnd. A new phrase for the WoW world.

Also, you may be interested in this.

Henry said...

Van Gogh (sotto voce): Oh man, Gaugin just cut off my ear. What do I do? If I tell people the truth, it will make Gaugin look bad. If I don't, people will think I'm crazy. And what about this piece of ear? I know! I'll give it to a prostitute.