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Was Van Gogh really mad? Did his madness drive his art? And did he really cut off his ear and give it to a prostitute? These are the key questions in On The Verge of Insanity at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. And the answers are: yes (sometimes); no (not really) and yes (well, almost).

Vincent van Gogh did suffer from periods of insanity, but most of the time he was sane and lucid. He worked non-stop between his breakdowns, but when he was in the midst of madness he was unable to paint at all. He did indeed cut off his ear (his whole ear, not just the earlobe) and gave it to a woman in a brothel, but she wasn’t actually a prostitute – she only worked there as a maid.

These revelations are the result of seven years’ research by Bernadette Murphy, author of a new book calledVan Gogh’s Ear – The True Story, but there’s more to this absorbing show than the tale of Vincent’s ear.

To read the full article: Shot 2016 07 10 at 20.33.30

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