Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 13:49 UK

Did Van Gogh cut his own ear off?

Vincent van Gogh did not cut off his own ear but lost it in a fight with fellow artist Paul Gauguin in a row outside a brothel, it has been claimed.

It has long been accepted that the mentally ill Dutch painter cut off his own ear with a razor after the row in Arles, southern France, in 1888.

But a new book, based on the original police investigation, claims Gauguin swiped Van Gogh's ear with a sword.

Steve Rosenberg looks at the evidence.

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