Van Gogh’s life and paintings have always been a mystery. One of the most puzzling questions about him is if he is right handed or left handed.

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most well-known post-impressionist painters in the 19th century whose work is notable for its color, emotion, and beauty. Being the son of a pastor, it took a few years for Van Gogh to realize his talent for art.

All his life, he was highly emotional and struggled a lot with his identity. Even if he sold just a few paintings in his entire lifetime, he is now known as one of the popular artists of all time.

Was Van Gogh Left-Handed

Self portrait as an artist.1888.

What does Van Gogh’s self-portrait tell about his left-handedness?

Assuming that Van Gogh used a mirror to paint, after flipping the painting, we can see that he has the palette in the left hand and the brush in the right hand. This theory is the most widely accepted one out there regarding his left-handedness.

It’s also possible that for the sake of the painting, Van Gogh could have rectified the mirrored image to show the world how he painted it. With his left.

Even though this theory seems legitimate, it’s not widely accepted.

What do his clothes say about this?

Studying his self-portrait, we understand that the button on Van Gogh’s coat is on the same side of the palette he holds. In men’s coats made during that time, buttons were always on the right side.

From this we learn that Van Gogh always held the palette in his right hand in real life and not just in the portrait.

Which is Van Gogh’s dominant hand according to the Van Gogh Museum in The Netherlands?

According to the Van Gogh Museum in The Netherlands, Van Gogh was right handed. They also seem to be very certain about it. So here goes their theory — Van Gogh painted two of his self-portraits with the palette in his right hand.

Apparently, he would have used the mirror to do so. So flipping the image, we now understand that he’s holding the palette in the left hand, with his brush in the right hand.

What are the other theories that give us an idea whether he is left handed or not?

Before getting into one of the popular theories that contradict the fact that he was left-handed, we need to go back to the day he cut his ear. We all know that Van Gogh cut off his left ear and presented it to a prostitute (Yes, you read correct!).

If he was left handed, it is very likely that he must have used his left hand to hold tools like a knife, but it is highly unlikely that a left handed person would cut his left ear with his left hand. So Van Gogh, according to this theory, is right handed.

Is Van Gogh left handed?

Perhaps we can come to a conclusion that Van Gogh is indeed right handed and not left handed as indicated by some theories. However, the topic still continues to draw a lot of curiosity and interest by Van Gogh fans across the world.  

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      07-09-2017 17:24     Comments ( 7 )
Comments (7)
 Fuck you -  15-06-2023

Fuck off you cocksuckers. He was left handed.

 bill crouch -  02-12-2021

Van Gogh's "Self Portrait with a bandaged Ear" 1889 appears to show his right ear is bandaged. This is because he used a mirror to paint the self-portrait. In fact, he cut off his left ear. He is holding the palette in his right hand in the portrait and a painting with the hand, corresponding to the undamaged ear, which is his actual right hand.

 Robert -  03-10-2021

If one draws/paints a self portrait from a mirror, it is more than clear that the image has to be flipped to appreciate the sides correctly, and it is also clear that Vincent never used photos for reference to paint/draw, refusing even to be photographed in his later years. He painted what he saw ín the mirror, as would anyone else. He was right handed, according to the self portrait above.

 Erik (van Gogh Studio) -  09-11-2020

Good point Peter!

 Peter Reid -  27-01-2020

Paul Gauguin's portrait of Van Gogh, 'the Painter of Sunflowers' (1888), clearly shows van Gogh holding the palette in his left hand and painting with his right. That's pretty compelling evidence he was right-handed.

 Anthony Holbourn -  26-12-2019

I wondered whether he was left-handed because his brush-strokes seem to run from right to left. To produce such an impression he wd have either to push the brush with his right hand or tilt his right hand over his fingers so that he could draw the brush away from him. I wd be interested in the observations of anyone else, based on a thoughtful observation of his work. I haven't looked at enough yet to feel certain. As for the evidence of his self-portraits, it is ambivalent and can be argued either way.

 Jerry -  11-11-2019

He may have been a righty because he cut off his left ear.