Was Van Gogh shot dead by a teenager in an accident? Artist's suicide is “a myth”, says art historians.
The Vincent van Gogh story is that the poverty-stricken and unappreciated artist took his own life with a shot to the chest.
But, more than a century on, two American writers have cast doubt on his suicide and instead claim he was shot dead by a teenager.
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith claim that Van Gogh was fatally wounded by a friend’s teenage brother who enjoyed teasing and provoking the mentally ill artist.
美国作家Steven Naifeh和Gregory White Smith认为梵高是被朋友家的弟弟枪击造成致命伤的。这个年轻人喜欢取笑和激怒患有精神疾病的画家。
Naifeh and Smith, who won a Pulitzer Prize for their biography of U.S. artist Jackson Pollock, spent ten years researching their book, which will be released in Britain tomorrow.
In Van Gogh: The Life, they claim that the Dutch impressionist "knew nothing about guns" and that "no gun was ever found" at the scene or anywhere else.
They conclude that Van Gogh had a "history of violent outbursts" and suggest a disagreement of some kind may have been his undoing.
According to the official version of his death, Van Gogh was only 37 when he went into a field in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise on the evening of July 27, 1890, and shot himself in the chest with a revolver.
But in their account, Naifeh and Smith claim that there is strong evidence against this, as Van Gogh left no suicide note and the bullet which killed him entered his body "from an unusual, oblique angle – not straight on as one would expect in a suicide".
The writers, who were granted access to thousands of family letters and had the co-operation of the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, have concluded that a row with a neighbour’s son was the real reason why he was shot, and that as he welcomed his own death he saw no reason to blame anybody else.