History, as we know it, is the result of a dance in the wire. What would have happened, Pascal wondered, if Cleopatra's nose had been a tad shorter. The same with art: Would Van Gogh have been the Van Gogh that we know if in a couple of days of fury there was a) sliced the ear, and b) unleashed a shot? It would be, yes, the painter of "The Sunflowers", the self-made genius, a talent in a chemically pure state, crystallized in just five years of furious work.
But, without madness, without premature and violent death - surrounded by mystery - it would not appear in that league of artists always in the limelight, meat of mythomania, mystification and mythification. The Champions that goes from Da Vinci to Bansky. The ear of Van Gogh, like the nose of Cleopatra, is what makes the painter an icon. From then on, any place he went through (the room of Arles), a word he left behind (the letters to Theo) or an instrument that he brandished (the revolver with which he "killed"), are not just circumstances, Holy Land for the mythomaniac, the voice of the genius on earth.
Regarding the latter (the revolver), there is a lot of cloth to cut. A Parisian auction house, Drouot, has announced that on June 19, it will release the 7mm caliber pistol, with which it was allegedly shot in the chest on July 27, 1890, causing its death after two days of agony. The piece, which was already exhibited in 2016 at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, It comes with an estimated price of between 40,000 and 60,000 euros, as befits an event and a weapon surrounded by an aura of mystery mystery.
To begin with, it was never entirely clear that Van Gogh committed suicide. He could have been the victim of an occasional shot while two young people played with the weapon, a theory that has gained strength in recent years despite Vincent's mental disorders more than likely a suicidal outcome. But it is that even the own revolver that causes death (provoked or not) contains a peculiar history and open to disquisitions about its authenticity. It was not until 1965 that it became known. A farmer found the weapon, model Lefaucheux, in the area of Auvers-sur-Oise in which the event took place 75 years before.
The caliber corresponded to the bullet impact reported by Dr. Gachet in his day, at the foot of the deceased's bed, and because of its deteriorating state, it was clear that he had been abandoned in the same place for a long time. Everything points to the fact that the revolver, which was presented in society in 2012 after decades in private hands, is the real deadly object. Now, in just over a couple of months, it will pass from hand to hand, guarding in its ferruginous skeleton the mystery, not of a death, but of one of those instants that, like Cleopatra's nose, change and define History.