Friday, November 22, 2013

Was Vincent Van Gogh Murdered?

In 2011, the New York Times claimed that Vincent van Gogh did not commit suicide, but was murdered. At that time, two Pulitzer Prize-winners (Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith) claimed that Vincent was murdered by two teenagers.

In their more than 1,000 page biography “Vincent van Gogh. The Life”, the two authors explained how the Dutch painter was being harassed by Gaston and René Secrétan. According to the two authors, things heated up on July 27, 1890. Trigger-happy René Secrétan shot Van Gogh, who died two days later.

They claim that suicide was out of the question, since the suicide shot was sloppy (somewhere in the stomach area) and Vincent did not leave a suicide note. They also point out that the high output of paintings during the last week of his life did not indicate a lack of energy. Furthermore, there were lots of rumors in Auvers at the time that two youngsters had shot Van Gogh.

Louis van Tilborgh and Teio Meedendorp are connected to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. They published a book that concludes that Van Gogh did indeed commit suicide. They furthermore state that the murder theory of Naifeh en Smith is based on speculations. 

The two Dutch researchers have solid evidence. The suicide shot was well-aimed. The wound was “between 3 and 4 centimeters under the left nipple” as stated by the medical examiner at the time. Furthermore, there was a brown discoloration around the wound that indicated “burnt gunpowder”. The gun must therefore have been fired at close proximity and not by René Secrétan. Quite likely, it was Vincent himself who fired the fatal shot. Furthermore, Vincent’s last paintings reflect extreme solitude and angst.

For now, Vincent van Gogh was not a homicide victim. Sadly enough, the genius did indeed take his own life. So let’s celebrate his genius, and stop speculating about his demise!

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