Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous painters in history. His death, from alleged suicide, has been brought into question as potentially being an accidental homicide.
Pulitzer-prize winning authors of Van Gogh's biography, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, visited the Van Gogh Foundation Archives in 2001 to begin their 10-year examination of letters and other artifacts linked to the painter, according to Vanity Fair.
Van Gogh died in 1890 from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, but it took him 29 hours to succumb to his injury. It's now been theorized that the artist was accidentally shot by a 16-year-old boy, Rene Secretan, and confessed to shooting himself on his deathbed in order to protect the teen, according to The Independent.
This stems from multiple inconsistencies in the story, including the fact that Van Gogh never left behind a suicide note. He had also mailed a letter to his brother, Theo, on the day of his death where his tone was happy and showing a positive outlook for his future.
Guns at the time left a lot of black powder residue on the user's palm after firing, and reportedly his hands were clean. At close range, residue should have also been visible. Van Gogh would also have needed to contort himself to aim the gun at the angle which he was shot, and likely use his left hand, even though he was right-handed.
Dr. Vincent di Maio, a leading expert on handguns, said after reviewing forensic evidence compiled by the authors, "It is my opinion that, in all medical probability, the wound incurred by Van Gogh was not self-inflicted. In other words, he did not shoot himself."
While Naifeh and Smith's accounts have led to some backlash, their opinion of the famed artist's death appears to be more plausible. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to ever truly know what happened on July 27th, 1890.
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