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The Mystery of Van Gogh's Ear

Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth about the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear.

It is one of the greatest and bloodiest mysteries in art: what happened on the December night in 1888 when Vincent van Gogh took a blade to his own ear?

Jeremy Paxman joins art sleuth Bernadette Murphy on her amazing quest to discover the truth - what exactly did the artist do, why did he do it and who was the unknown girl he is said to have handed his severed ear to, her real identity kept secret by her family for over a century? It is an event that defines van Gogh, who created his greatest masterpieces including the Sunflowers at the same moment as suffering mental torture, but what are the real facts?

This revealing detective story travels from Vincent's home in the south of France to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and uncovers key evidence hidden in a Californian library that has created an art-world sensation, as we finally solve the mystery of Van Gogh's ear.

59 minutes

On TV

Thu 13 Aug 2020 00:00

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:45

    White Noise Research

    An Afternoon On Condale Lake

  • 00:48

    Roy Orbison

    You Got It

  • 00:54

    The Flickers

    Gotta See Jane

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Jeremy Paxman
Participant Bernadette Murphy
Executive Producer Bill Locke
Producer Jack MacInnes
Director Jack MacInnes
Editor Richard Wilkinson
Production Company Lion Television

Broadcasts

Featured in...

BBC Arts: The real Van Gogh

BBC Arts: The real Van Gogh

A genius not driven by madness but crippled by it.