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)
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)
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)
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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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