How would your opinion of Van Gogh change if you learned that instead of "cutting his own ear off because he was crazy" it turned out that his buddy Gauguin cut Van Gogh's ear off with a sword during an argument? You would think, "wow, that is pretty badass, actually," right?
Gauguin, an excellent fencer, was planning to leave Van Gogh's "Yellow House" in Arles, southwestern France, after an unhappy stay.
He had walked out of the house with his baggage and his trusty épée in hand, but was followed by the troubled Van Gogh, who had earlier thrown a glass at him.
As the pair approached a bordello, their row intensified, and Gauguin cut off Van Gogh's left earlobe with his sword – either in anger or self-defence.
He then threw the weapon in the Rhône. Van Gogh delivered the ear to the prostitute and staggered home, where police discovered him the following day, the new account claims.
This version of van Gogh's life is much more in keeping with our idea of the man, which is based entirely on confusing that Kirk Douglas movie about him with basically every other '50s Kirk Douglas movie, most of which were about shirtless men fighting.