Van Gogh, His Gun, Suicide... and a Murder.

This isn’t some warped conspiracy theory, particularly, although it does involve a suicide and a murder.

It occurred to me while I was watching a documentary on Van Gogh that he may have had that revolver with him for another reason than merely to kill himself.

First of all, was Vincent still working on his acknowledged last painting, Wheatfield With Crows, when he shot himself?

And second, if he was, how many bullets were left in his revolver after he shot himself?

You see, I’m wondering if Vincent intended to pop off a shot or two to scare the birds, to observe the, um, murder of crows as it rose from feeding in the wheatfield. Did he?

I don’t suppose it’s much of a question, but there it is. Thanks for your answers in advance.

They don’t know for sure if “Wheatfield with Crows” was his last painting or not. From

Well, that would certainly put a damper on the theory, Ice Wolf. Thank you for the cite–I’ve never even seen that painting before, so it’s like you just gave me a new toy.

I suppose I’d also like to know how he got his gun, what with him being a disfigured, broke, recent asylum releasee and all. Did he ever give a reason for having it?

(I suspect that even in 1890 someone would have asked that question.)

My girlfriend also wants to know, “was he wearing a white tank-top when he painted it?”

See why I love this woman so much?

No, it was not his last painting. You’re correct about Van Gogh’s purported reason for taking the gun with him–he had complained that the crows were bugging him, and he told Dr. Gachet that he needed a gun to scare them away. I can’t remember if it was a revolver–for some reason, I think it may have been a rifle.

The Crows over the Wheatfield is often said to be the painting he was working on when he shot himself, but that’s mainly because with its dark, foreboding sky, and the meandering path lost amidst the fields, it looks like the perfect suicide note for an artist. Also, I think the film Lust for Life (featuring Kirk Douglas as Vincent) had him working on it at the end, and that’s kind of reinforced the “suicide note” impression of the painting. The funny thing is that Vincent painted some much warmer, “happier” paintings after the Crows–though which work was exactly his last is probably still debateable.

Not sure about the white tank-top. :slight_smile:

The soft-documentary I was watching just last night (Van Gogh Gauguin) showed him writing a letter to Theo, stopping mid-paragraph, and going out to the field to paint but not actually doing any painting & just offing himself right away.

So Theo died that year too? I missed that part of the story.

Did anyone but me see the Leonard Nimoy one-man play about Vincent & Theo? Wasn’t that cool?