starry starry night painting but its daytime

In creating this image of the night sky—dominated by the bright moon at right and Venus at center left—van Gogh heralded modern painting’s new embrace of mood, expression, symbol, and sentiment. Inspired by the view from his window at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, in southern France, where the artist spent twelve months in 1889–90 seeking reprieve from his mental illnesses, The Starry Night (made in mid-June) is both an exercise in observation and a clear departure from it. The vision took place at night, yet the painting, among hundreds of artworks van Gogh made that year, was created in several sessions during the day, under entirely different atmospheric conditions. The picturesque village nestled below the hills was based on other views—it could not be seen from his window—and the cypress at left appears much closer than it was. And although certain features of the sky have been reconstructed as observed, the artist altered celestial shapes and added a sense of glow.
Van Gogh assigned an emotional language to night and nature that took them far from their actual appearances. Dominated by vivid blues and yellows applied with gestural verve and immediacy, The Starry Night also demonstrates how inseparable van Gogh’s vision was from the new procedures of painting he had devised, in which color and paint describe a world outside the artwork even as they telegraph their own status as, merely, color and paint.

Starry starry night painting but its daytime
On two other occasions around this time, Van Gogh used the word “arrangement” to refer to color, similar to the way James Abbott McNeill Whistler used the term. In a letter to Gauguin in January 1889, he wrote, “As an arrangement of colours: the reds moving through to pure oranges, intensifying even more in the flesh tones up to the chromes, passing into the pinks and marrying with the olive and Veronese greens. As an impressionist arrangement of colours, I’ve never devised anything better.” [75] (The painting he is referring to is La Berceuse, which is a realistic portrait of Augustine Roulin with an imaginative floral background.) And to Bernard in late November 1889: “But this is enough for you to understand that I would long to see things of yours again, like the painting of yours that Gauguin has, those Breton women walking in a meadow, the arrangement of which is so beautiful, the colour so naively distinguished. Ah, you’re exchanging that for something — must one say the word — something artificial — something affected.” [76] [77]
Van Gogh argued with Bernard and especially, Paul Gauguin as to whether one should paint from nature, as Van Gogh preferred, [26] or paint what Gauguin called “abstractions”: [27] paintings conceived in the imagination, or de tête. [28] In the letter to Bernard, Van Gogh recounted his experiences when Gauguin lived with him for nine weeks in the fall and winter of 1888: “When Gauguin was in Arles, I once or twice allowed myself to be led astray into abstraction, as you know. . . . But that was delusion, dear friend, and one soon comes up against a brick wall. . . And yet, once again I allowed myself to be led astray into reaching for stars that are too big—another failure—and I have had my fill of that.” [29] Van Gogh here is referring to the expressionistic swirls which dominate the upper center portion of The Starry Night. [30]

Starry starry night painting but its daytime
5) Analysts of “Starry Night” emphasize the symbolism of the stylized cypress tree in the foreground, linking it to death and Van Gogh’s eventual suicide. However, the cypress also represents immortality. In the painting, the tree reaches into the sky, serving as a direct connection between the earth and the heavens. The artist may have been making more of a hopeful statement than many credit him with. This positive interpretation of the cypress symbolism hearkens back to a letter to his brother in which the artist likened death to a train that travels to the stars.
7) Research has confirmed that the dominant morning star in the painting is actually Venus, which was in a similar position at the time Van Gogh was working on “Starry Night,” and it would have shone brightly, just as Van Gogh painted it.

Starry starry night painting but its daytime
He was determined to capture the richness of the night colours on the spot, just as the Impressionists painted in situ during daylight—although jokingly he confided to his sister that, ‘Of course it’s true that in the dark I may mistake a blue for a green, a blue-lilac for a pink-lilac, for you cannot rightly distinguish the quality of a hue. But it is the only way to get rid of the conventional night scenes with their poor sallow whitish light.’ 2

Alas, alas, it is just as our excellent fellow Cyprien says in J.K. Huysmans’ ‘En ménage’: the most beautiful paintings are those which you dream about when you lie in bed smoking a pipe, but which you never paint. 4

Starry starry night painting but its daytime
In 1886, van Gogh moved to Paris, where he encountered the works of the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists, and the Pointillist compositions of Georges Seurat. Inspired by these artists’ harmonious matching of colors, shorter brushstrokes, and liberal use of paint, he brightened his own palette and loosened his brushwork, emphasizing the physical application of paint on the canvas. The style he developed in Paris and carried through to the end of his life became known as Post-Impressionism, a term encompassing works made by artists unified by their interest in expressing their emotional and psychological responses to the world through bold colors and expressive, often symbolic images. In a letter to his sister Willemien, touching upon the mind and temperament of artists, van Gogh once wrote that he was “very sensitive to color and its particular language, its effects of complementaries, contrasts, harmony.” 2
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References:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night
http://www.vincentvangogh.org/starry-night.jsp
http://nga.gov.au/exhibition/masterpiecesfromparis/Default.cfm?IRN=191270&BioArtistIRN=24990&MnuID=3&GalID=3&ViewID=2
http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889/
http://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889/

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