Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin, 1888, oil on canvas
I couldn’t help but comment on the bizarre assertions made in the article above.
Firstly, “CBS say the writers have arrived at their conclusions by asking questions including: ‘Could van Gogh have inflicted a painful wound and still walked over a mile on difficult terrain?'”
Firstly, since it took him two days to die, and when he did it was by infection not from blood loss, why couldn’t he walk a mile? He didn’t shoot himself in the leg. Secondly, nobody knows where he shot himself and how far he had to walk Thirdly, his brother Theo, arriving on the second day found Vncent in surprisingly good shape, meaning that the original wound wasn’t terribly serious. The fact that there were no competent surgeons to treat the wound (or that they were indifferent as suggested in Pialat’s Van Gogh film) and their allowing infection to set in is what led to his death.
Then this: “They also question whether the artist, who was known to have spent time in an asylum, could have got hold of a gun.”
Let’s see….. he could have stolen it… he could have borrowed it… he could have owned it before using it. Do the authors have some notion that guns were tightly registered and regulated in provincial France in the late 19th Century and persons not showing papers clearing them of any mental illness were denied access to weapons?
This book promises to be as great a side splitter as Patricia Cornwell’s hare-brained expose of Walter Sickert as Jack the Ripper in Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed…. primarily because he painted some scenes of murdered women. No doubt George Grosz, Otto Dix, Daumier and company made a habit of murdering their victims so they could paint them afterwards from memory or even at the scene of the crime… since like Sickert they all relished that kind of stuff.
Anyway, who’s to say. Perhaps Vincent fell victim to some late 19th Century Dick Cheney on a hunting trip.
Anyway, Naifeh and Smith wrote such a potboiler of a Pollock biography they got not only a Pulitzer but Ed Harris as Pollock. Even better, Val Kilmer as de Kooning and an immortal performance by Jeffrey Tambor as Clement Greenberg.
Since di Caprio has already had practice playing Belle Epoque madmen with a hilarious turn as Arthur Rimbaud in Total Eclipse why not give him a shot at Vincent? I also think Keanu Reeves would be a smashing Theo.