Vincent van Gogh may have been murdered, according to one of the world’s leading forensic experts.

The famed painters’ death has been the subject of much scrutiny for years. Initially, his death was seen as a suicide, however, Dr. Vincent Di Maio believes the wound was not self-inflicted.

“It is my opinion that, in all medical probability, the wound incurred by Van Gogh was not self-inflicted. In other words, he did not shoot himself,” Di Maio said in a statement.

Art historians Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith claim that van Gogh’s gunshot wound had a halo around it that was brown and purple in color, indicating that the shot had been at close range, indicating a suicide. However, Di Maio disputes this claim, saying the halo had nothing to do with the proximity of the gun. “In fact, this is subcutaneous bleeding from vessels cut by the bullet and is usually seen in individuals who live a while,” Di Maio wrote in his report. “Its presence or absence means nothing.”

Di Maio also said the brown ring is common among virtually any entry wounds, and was no indication of suicide. His investigation points out that the shot must have happened more than two feet away because there was no evidence of soot or powder at the site of the wound. “These would have been grossly evident,” Di Maio said. “None of this is described. This indicates the muzzle was more than a foot or two away (closer to two rather than one).”

Dr. Di Maio served as an expert witness at the George Zimmerman trial in Florida, and is an expert in gunshot wounds.

Vincent van Gogh may have been murdered according to this new evidence, but said on his death bed that he had shot himself in a wheat field in Auvers in 1890.

[photo credit: jankie]