starry night van gogh original why is it great
It was nature, and the people living closely to it, that first stirred van GoghвЂ™s artistic inclinations. In this he was not alone. Landscapes remained a popular subject in late-nineteenth-century art. Driven in part by their dissatisfaction with the modern city, many artists sought out places resembling earthly paradises, where they could observe nature firsthand, feeding its psychological and spiritual resonances into their work. Van Gogh was particularly taken with the peasants he saw working the countryside; his early compositions featured portraits of Dutch peasants and rural landscapes, rendered in dark, moody tones.
Observation and Imagination in The Starry Night (1889)
2) Van Gogh painted the view from his east-facing window in the asylum 21 times. Although the series depicts various times of day and night and different weather conditions, all the works include the line of rolling hills in the distance. None show the bars on the window of his room.
The artist is looking down on a village from an imaginary viewpoint. It is framed by his newly-discovered motifs: at left a cypress towers skywards, at right a group of olive trees cluster into the cloud, and against the horizon run the undulating waves of the Alpilles. Van Gogh’s treatment of his motifs prompts associations with fire, mist and the sea,and the elemental power of the natural scene combines with the intangible cosmic drama of the stars. The eternal natural universe cradles the human settlement idyllically, yet also surrounds it menacingly. The village itself might be anywhere, Saint-Remy or Nuenen recalled in a nocturnal mood. The church spire seems to be stretching up into the elements, at once an antenna and a lightning conductor, like some kind of provincial Eiffel Tower (the fascination of which was never far from van Gogh’s nocturnes). Van Gogh’s mountains and trees (particularly the cypresses) had hardly been discovered but they seemed to crackle with an electric charge. Confident that he had grasped their natural appearance, van Gogh set out to remake their image in the service of the symbolic. Together with the firmament, these landscape features are singing the praises of Creation in this painting.
In the aftermath of the 23 December 1888 breakdown that resulted in the self-mutilation of his left ear,   Van Gogh voluntarily admitted himself to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole lunatic asylum on 8 May 1889.   Housed in a former monastery, Saint-Paul-de-Mausole catered to the wealthy and was less than half full when Van Gogh arrived,  allowing him to occupy not only a second-story bedroom but also a ground-floor room for use as a painting studio. 
Noted art historian Meyer Schapiro highlights the expressionistic aspects of The Starry Night, saying it was created under the “pressure of feeling” and that it is a “visionary [painting] inspired by a religious mood.”  Schapiro theorizes that the “hidden content”  of the work makes reference to the New Testament book of Revelation, revealing an “apocalyptic theme of the woman in pain of birth, girded with the sun and moon and crowned with stars, whose newborn child is threatened by the dragon.”  (Schapiro, in the same volume, also professes to see an image of a mother and child in the clouds in Landscape with Olive Trees,  painted at the same time and often regarded as a pendant to The Starry Night.) 
Some people have made stylistic comparisons to Vincent’s other well known and equally turbulent work Wheatfield with Crows. Does the tumultuous style of these works reflect a tortured mind? Or is there something more we can read within the whorls Vincent’s raging night sky? This is what makes Starry Night not only Vincent’s most famous work, but also one of its most frequently interpreted in terms of its meaning and importance.
‘Look, I have had another dream’ he said, ‘I thought I saw the sun, the moon and eleven stars, bowing to me.’
Although van Gogh’s subjects were restricted, his style was not. He experimented with the depiction of various weather conditions and changing light, often painting the wheat fields nearby under a bright summer sun or dark storm clouds. Van Gogh was also particularly preoccupied by the challenges of painting a night landscape and wrote about it not only to his brother, Theo, but to a fellow painter, Émile Bernard, and to his sister, Willemien. In a letter addressed to the latter, he alleged that night was more colourful than day and that stars were more than simple white dots on black, instead appearing yellow, pink, or green. By the time van Gogh arrived at Saint-Rémy, he had already painted a few night scenes, including Starry Night (Rhône) (1888). In that work, stars appear in bursts of yellow against a blue-black sky and compete with both the glowing gas lamps below and their reflection in the Rhône River.
The oil-on-canvas painting is dominated by a night sky roiling with chromatic blue swirls, a glowing yellow crescent moon, and stars rendered as radiating orbs. One or two cypress trees, often described as flame-like, tower over the foreground to the left, their dark branches curling and swaying to the movement of the sky that they partly obscure. Amid all this animation, a structured village sits in the distance on the lower right of the canvas. Straight controlled lines make up the small cottages and the slender steeple of a church, which rises as a beacon against rolling blue hills. The glowing yellow squares of the houses suggest the welcoming lights of peaceful homes, creating a calm corner amid the painting’s turbulence.