- Author : Bernadette Murphy
- Publsiher : Random House Canada
- Release : 12 July 2016
- ISBN : 9780345816078
- Page : 400 pages
- Rating : 4.5/5 from 2 voters
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Book Excerpt : On a dark night in Provence in December 1888 Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is an act that has come to define him. Yet for more than a century biographers and historians seeking definitive facts about what happened that night have been left with more questions than answers. In Van Gogh’s Ear Bernadette Murphy sets out to discover exactly what happened that night in Arles. Why would an artist at the height of his powers commit such a brutal act of self-harm? Was it just his lobe, or did Van Gogh really cut off his entire ear? Who was the mysterious “Rachel” to whom he presented his macabre gift? Murphy’s investigation takes us from major museums to the moldering contents of forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing the world in which Van Gogh moved—the madams and prostitutes, café patrons and police inspectors, his beloved brother, Theo, and his fellow artist and house guest Paul Gauguin. With exclusive revelations and new research about the ear and about Rachel, Bernadette Murphy proposes a bold new hypothesis about what was occurring in Van Gogh’s heart and mind as he made a mysterious delivery to a woman’s doorstep that fateful night. Van Gogh’s Ear is a compelling detective story and a journey of discovery. It is also a portrait of a painter creating his most iconic and revolutionary work, pushing himself ever closer to greatness even as he edged towards madness—and the one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.