New theory suggests Van Gogh cut off his own ear because of brother's engagement

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Celebrated artist Vincent Van Gogh is known for cutting his ear off and sending it to a brothel worker in 1888.

Experts had suspected the extreme behavior was triggered by a fight with another painter, Paul Gauguin.

However, The Guardian reports that a new book, titled 'Studio of the South,' argues that Van Gogh mutilated himself because his brother Theo had decided to get married.

To the artist, the impending union would mean that he would likely lose the emotional and financial backing he was receiving from Theo because the groom would need to support his new family.

See more on the artist:

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Vincent Van Gogh Paintings
Employees of Sotheby's auction house pose with French artist Vincent van Gogh's L'Allee des Alyscamps painted in 1888 which is estimated to sell for 40 million USD at auction in New York during a press preview in London on April 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - MAY 6: Vincent van Gogh's painting known as Lallée Des Alyscamps' sold for $66.3 million during an auction at Sotheby's in New York, United States on May 6, 2015. 'Lallée Des Alyscamps' was offered at Sotheby's impressionist and modern art sale. The autumnal scene was painted in 1888 during a two-month period when van Gogh and Gauguin worked together in Arles, France.  (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Sotheby's employee stands next to painting by Vincent Van Gogh, said to be on of his last, entitled 'Still Life- Vase with Daisies and Poppies' 1890, during a press preview at the auction house in London, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. The painting is expected to sell for some US 30-50 million, when sold in auction in New York on Nov. 4.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
People look at Tulips planted to form a portrait of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh Keukenhof flower garden in Lisse on April 21, 2015. The flower garden's theme is 'Van Gogh' for the 2015 season, marking the 125th anniversary of his death. AFP PHOTO / ANP / REMKO DE WAAL **NETHERLANDS OUT** (Photo credit should read REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Sotheby's employees pose with a painting 'L'Homme est en mer' by Vincent Van Gogh on display at the auction house in London, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. The painting is to be auctioned in Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art sale on Feb. 5 with an estimated price of 6 to 8 million pounds (US$9.9 to 13.2 million or 7.3 to 9.7 million euro). (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
One of Vincent van Gogh's "The Postman Joseph Roulin," is photographed on display at The Phillips Collection museum in Washington, Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Amid the shutdown of federal museums, the private Phillips Collection is launching the first major exhibition of Vincent van Gogh's artwork in Washington in 15 years. The new exhibit examines some of van Gogh's best-known paintings to look at how and why he repeated certain compositions during his 10-year career. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
This undated image provided by the National Gallery of Art, shows "Green Wheat Fields, Auvers" by Vincent Van Gogh. The painting, that has been hidden away at a Virginia estate for decades, will have a new home at the National Gallery of Art. (AP Photo/National Gallery of Art)
 Van Gogh Museum director Axel Rueger, left, poses next to "Sunset at Montmajour" after unveiling the painting by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh during a press conference at the museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Monday Sept. 9, 2013. The museum has identified the long-lost painting which was painted by the Dutch mater in 1888, the discovery is the first full size canvas that has been found since 1928 and will be on display from Sept. 24. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
In this photo taken May 8, 2008, a woman takes a picture of the signature of the March 1888 painting "Bridge at Arles" (Pont de Langlois) by Vincent van Gogh, at Kroeller-Mueller museum, Otterlo, eastern Netherlands. With the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam closed for renovations, the world's second-largest collection of the tortured Dutch master's work is stepping into the limelight. The lesser-known Kroeller-Mueller museum in the eastern Netherlands has revamped the layout of its central rooms, giving more space and focus to many of its top works. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Curators hang an 1888 self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh in which he painted himself behind a canvas, brushes and palette in hand, the final painting before the reopening after a seven-month renovation, kicking off with "Vincent At Work," an exhibition that shows Van Gogh's working methods, right down to the paints, brushes and other tools he used, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Vincent Jannink)
Visitors look at paintings by Van Gogh, "Sunflowers" and "La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a Cradle); Augustine Roulin" at Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The Van Gogh Museum has reopened its doors to the public after a seven-month renovation, kicking off with "Vincent At Work," an exhibition that shows Van Gogh's working methods, right down to the paints, brushes and other tools he used. (AP Photo/Vincent Jannink)
WASSENAAR, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 16: An electricity power substation is decorated with replica's of original paintings by Vincent Van Gogh on March 16, 2014 in Wassenaar, Netherlands. The Van Gogh Europe Foundation announced that in the year 2015 exhibitions will be organized to commemorate the 125th anniversary of his death. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)
A visitor looks at a painting entitled 'Arbres dans le jardin de l 'hopital Saint- Paul ' by late Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh displayed at the Orsay Museum as part of the exhibition 'Van Gogh/Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society', on March 10, 2014 in Paris. (Photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor looks at 'L'eglise d' Auvers-sur-Oise vue du chevet ' (L) and 'Paysage sous un ciel tourmenté', paintings by late Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh displayed at the Orsay Museum as part of the exhibition 'Van Gogh/Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society', on March 10, 2014 in Paris. (Photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor looks at a painting entitled 'La chambre de Van Gogh à Arles' by late Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh displayed at the Orsay Museum as part of the exhibition 'Van Gogh/Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society', on March 10, 2014 in Paris. (Photo credit:  BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor looks at paintings by late Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh displayed at the Orsay Museum as part of the exhibition 'Van Gogh/Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society', on March 10, 2014 in Paris. (Photo credit: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
People visit an exhibition of digital versions of some of Vincent van Gogh's best-known paintings which are part of a multimedia exhibition in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. Curators say showing the paintings in this large and detailed format can help viewers interpret his thoughts, feelings and state of mind. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Curators hang an 1888 self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh in which he painted himself behind a canvas, brushes and palette in hand, the final painting before the reopening after a seven-month renovation, kicking off with "Vincent At Work," an exhibition that shows Van Gogh's working methods, right down to the paints, brushes and other tools he used, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Vincent Jannink)
A visitor looks at Vincent van Gogh's "The Large Plane Trees," on display at The Phillips Collection museum in Washington, Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Amid the shutdown of federal museums, the private Phillips Collection is launching the first major exhibition of Vincent van Gogh's artwork in Washington in 15 years. The new exhibit examines some of van Gogh's best-known paintings to look at how and why he repeated certain compositions during his 10-year career. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
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As evidence, the book's author, Martin Bailey, writes that instead of learning about the engagement after the ear incident, as some had suggested, Van Gogh likely read about it earlier that day in a letter that had arrived from his brother.

In fact, a report by The Telegraph states, "When Theo visited his brother in hospital on Christmas Day, the artist confirmed that he already knew about the engagement."

Theo did end up getting married, but he died about three years after this event.

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