NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Even those with a scant knowledge of art know about the moment when artist Vincent van Gogh looked into a mirror, held up a blade and cut into his ear. The deed was dramatized by Irving Stone in his best-selling novel "Lust for Life," and portrayed vividly by Kirk Douglas in the 1956 film.
But did Stone get it right? What did van Gogh really do on the fateful night of December 23rd, 1888 in the town of Arles in southern France? Afterwards, there was a successful effort by his family to play down the event. His friend, artist Paul Gauguin, who was present, gave conflicting accounts. Still others tried to profit from his local infamy. Generations have theorized about what really happened, but no one has unearthed the true details…until now. Van Gogh's Ear, broadcast as part of Secrets of the Dead, one of PBS's longest running, limited primetime series, delves into the artist's state of mind on the night he committed his notorious act of self-harm and offers fascinating evidence discovered by researcher Bernadette Murphy. The program premieres nationally Wednesday, December 14 at 10 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) Murphy, an independent researcher living in Provence, had long been intrigued by van Gogh's story and spent seven years piecing together a meticulous picture of his life in Arles (1888-9); person by person, house by house, exploring closely his friends and his enemies.