The Life of the Painter Vincent Van Gogh: Suicide or Homicide?

The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh had been diagnosed with mental illness in 1890. His physician, Paul Ferdinand Gachet treat him with Digitalis purpura in 1890 to suppress Van Gogh’s epilepsy manic depression. These consumption of medicine was also believed to affect the tones of color in Van Gogh’s paintings. One of those is the marvelous “Starry Night”.

Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night

Credit : Photo by

Theory said that overmedication of this drug could make the patients see the world with yellow green tint and yellow spots surrounded by corona same as in starry night. During his medication, Van Gogh moved from the asylum to the country side to paint and seek for serenity regardless of his condition.

Van Gogh painting, Arts


In a letter for his brother Theo on 10 July 1890, Van gogh wrote that he feel he has failed and see no happiness in the future. His condition had gone through up and down as a result of his mood swing. Finally in July 1890, Van Gogh engaged in an attempt for a suicide. He shoot himself in the stomach and passed out in the field he used to go for painting. The breeze of the night, woke him and he came back to the inn. The innkeeper asked what happened to him and Van Gogh answer that he tried to kill himself. Van Gogh refuse the offer of his physician Mr. Gachet to save his life, he passed away in the morning at 1.30 am.

Van Gogh self-portrait

Credit: Self-Potrait of Van Gogh,

Another controversial theory was in the Van Gogh’s biography book by authors Naifeh and Smith. They argued and said in one correspondence that Van Gogh think suicide is immoral and sinful. They also brought up the fact that Van Gogh should not able to walk with a fatal injury in his stomach since the distance of the wheat field and inn is quite far.

Van Gogh painting, 1890

"use strict"; var adace_load_5c428a9acb2f2 = function(){ var viewport = $(window).width(); var tabletStart = 601; var landscapeStart = 801; var tabletEnd = 961; var content = ''; var unpack = true; if(viewport=tabletStart && viewport=landscapeStart && viewport=tabletStart && viewport=tabletEnd){ if ($wrapper.hasClass('.adace-hide-on-desktop')){ $wrapper.remove(); } } if(unpack) { $self.replaceWith(decodeURIComponent(content)); } } if($wrapper.css('visibility') === 'visible' ) { adace_load_5c428a9acb2f2(); } else { //fire when visible. var refreshIntervalId = setInterval(function(){ if($wrapper.css('visibility') === 'visible' ) { adace_load_5c428a9acb2f2(); clearInterval(refreshIntervalId); } }, 999); }