the starry night by vincent van gogh analysis
The little houses, on the other hand, seem pretty quiet. All the lights are out and everybody’s asleep, unaware of the night sky that’s bursting with life and the cypress bush writhing in front of them. This depicts some sort of alienation and ignorance. I feel that the sleepy village represents the rest of the world, unaware of whatever raging passions and agony Van Gogh was going through at that moment. Perhaps this is why the houses seem to appear so far away even though they are actually more or less in the foreground.
The cypress, on the other hand, seems to somewhat dampen the dazzling effect of the night sky with its writhing, dark leaves sprawling up on the left side of the picture. It has this snaky form to it and seems totally uncharacteristic with the rest of the painting. It disturbs the whole equilibrium to what had could have been a magical depiction of a starry night. Dondis states that the human eye usually favours the lower left area of any visual field and it seems that Van Gogh had quite deliberately painted the cypress bush in such a prominent position. A possible interpretation could be that the bush was a representation of the inner anguish he was going through at that time. The turmoil he was going through might have been writhing out the intensity he had for life.
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.
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.
Starry Night depicts a dreamy interpretation of the artist’s asylum room’s sweeping view of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Though Van Gogh revisited this scene in his work on several occasions, “Starry Night” is the only nocturnal study of the view. Thus, in addition to descriptions evident in the myriad of letters he wrote to his brother, Theo, it offers a rare nighttime glimpse into what the artist saw while in isolation. “Through the iron-barred window I can make out a square of wheat in an enclosure,” he wrote in May of 1889, “above which in the morning I see the sun rise in its glory.”
8) The moon in the painting would not have been in the crescent phase as shown at the time Van Gogh painted “Starry Night.” In reality, it would have been gibbous, or about three-quarters full.
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 artistsвЂ™ 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 вЂњvery sensitive to color and its particular language, its effects of complementaries, contrasts, harmony.вЂќ 2
1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4″ (73.7 x 92.1 cm)
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.
Van Gogh painted The Starry Night during his 12-month stay at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, several months after suffering a breakdown in which he severed a part of his own ear with a razor. While at the asylum, he painted during bursts of productivity that alternated with moods of despair. As an artist who preferred working from observation, van Gogh was limited to the subjects that surrounded him—his own likeness, views outside his studio window, and the surrounding countryside that he could visit with a chaperone.