Summary

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? Who was the mysterious 'Rachel' to whom he presented his macabre gift? Was it just his lobe, or did Van Gogh really cut off his entire ear? Her investigation takes us from major museums to the dusty 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 her 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 one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.
©2016 Bernadette Murphy (P)2016 Random House AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mrs on 22-09-17

Compelling

Well research and fascinating. Changed my thoughts about one of my favourite painters. Sadly let down by the reader who reads all the English text extremely well...and then totally ruins the overall experience by totally lacking in linguistic ability. Both French and Dutch pronunciation painful in the extreme. Sad.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Paul Brookes on 26-02-17

Superb Detective Story That Destroys Myths

Written like a thriller, I loved the concrete details, in depth analysis and remarkable detailed historical research that flesh out the story of Van Gogh, his relationships and environs.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 10-06-18

Impressively researched account of Van Gogh's life

I read this for a presentation I'm doing on Van Gogh and was happily surprised to realize I had chosen a thoroughly researched book, from an author that dares to question many assumptions about the famous painter.

So much of the hearsay and misinformation spread about Van Gogh lives on today, but Bernadette Murphy's patience and determination in pursuing every little detail does pay off and she corrects many fake assumptions.

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