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‘Vincent van Gogh suffered from psychosis after cutting his ear’

The Groningen researchers carried out psychiatric research into the painter, writes RTV North. They interviewed art historians who have read letters from the painter and have information from the doctors who treated him.


The study shows that the painter includes The Starry Night had several psychiatric disorders. For example, in his letters he mentioned symptoms associated with bipolar mood disorder. He is also said to have a personality disorder.

These disorders were exacerbated by malnutrition and his alcohol addiction. When Van Gogh also got into an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, he cut off his ear in December 1888. The new theory of the UMCG researchers is that he experienced brief psychosis twice. It would be because of withdrawal symptoms from the drink.


Van Gogh went through severe periods of depression, certainly one with psychotic characteristics. In the end he was unable to recover. Van Gogh committed suicide in July 1890.

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