starry night painting colorado
Starry Night is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world. It is absolutely everywhere, too. It can be seen on coffee, mugs, t-shirts, towels, magnets, etc. Honestly, it sometimes feels as if the painting’s fame has exceeded that of its creator. It is a magnificent piece of art. That Starry Night resonates with so many people is a testament to how its beauty is timeless and universal.
Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889 during his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Van Gogh lived well in the hospital; he was allowed more freedoms than any of the other patients. If attended, he could leave the hospital grounds; he was allowed to paint, read, and withdraw into his own room. He was even given a studio. While he suffered from the occasional relapse into paranoia and fits – officially he had been diagnosed with epileptic fits – it seemed his mental health was recovering.
Unfortunately, he relapsed. He began to suffer hallucination and have thoughts of suicide as he plunged into depression. Accordingly, there was a tonal shift in his work. He returned to incorporating the darker colors from the beginning of his career and Starry Night is a wonderful example of that shift. Blue dominates the painting, blending hills into the sky. The little village lays at the base in the painting in browns, greys, and blues. Even though each building is clearly outlined in black, the yellow and white of the stars and the moon stand out against the sky, drawing the eyes to the sky. They are the big attention grabber of the painting.
During his asylum years in Arles, Vincent van Gogh produced some of his best-known masterpieces such as Irises and the Blue self-portrait. The exact creation date of the dazzling The Starry Night painting was 18 June 1889 and it was tracked through the correspondence Van Gogh had with his brother, Theo. Another important aspect which was found in the siblings’ letters is a description of how Vincent perceived nighttime view in isolation, a view that will become The Starry Night, so in May 1889 he wrote:
The main curiosity surrounding this iconic painting is that the artist displayed different times of day and different weather conditions such as moonrise, sunrise, overcast days, windy days and a rainy day. Van Gogh usually made ink sketches on paper in his bedroom, since the hospital stuff banned him from doing it elsewhere. The unifying pictorial element of all those preparation works is the diagonal line coming from the right which lines the grandiose hills of the Alpilles mountains. Interestingly so, the cypress trees are represented in fifteen of the twenty-one versions beyond the wall enclosing the wheat field. Vincent meticulously depicted the view in six of these works by bringing the trees closer to the picture plane.
Here are some of the key takeaways of “The Starry Night” which you could incorporate into your own paintings:
When I think of “The Starry Night”, the first thing which comes to mind is the swirling brushwork which creates a sense of movement and turbulence, especially in the sky. In fact, a physicist by the name of Jose Luis Aragon suggested that the swirling brushwork in paintings like “The Starry Night” have an uncanny resemblance to the mathematical expression of real turbulence shown in natural occurrences like whirlpools and air streams. You can read more on this here.
3) The artist considered “The Starry Night,” which one day would rank among his most famous works, to be a failure, according to what he wrote to his brother.
9) Pathologist Paul Wolf postulated in 2001 that the artist’s fondness for yellow in paintings like “Starry Night” resulted from taking too much digitalis, a treatment in his day for epilepsy.
“Well, I can sell sand in the desert and icicles on the North Pole,” Standring quipped. “No, it was the merits of the story that encouraged people to take the risk to loan their works of art to come to Colorado.”
The exhibit doesn’t include those two paintings or any versions of “The Bedroom” but does have three of van Gogh’s self-portraits as well as paintings from the last year of his life. It also includes lesser-known early works, from before the Dutch painter joined his brother Theo in Paris.