where was van gogh when he painted the starry night
Whitney also theorizes that the swirls in the sky could represent wind, evoking the mistral that had such a profound effect on Van Gogh during the twenty-seven months he spent in Provence.  (It was the mistral which triggered his first breakdown after entering the asylum, in July 1889, less than a month after painting The Starry Night.)  Boime theorizes that the lighter shades of blue just above the horizon show the first light of morning. 
Art historian Lauren Soth also finds a symbolist subtext in The Starry Night, saying that the painting is a “traditional religious subject in disguise”  and a “sublimated image of [Van Gogh’s] deepest religious feelings.”  Citing Van Gogh’s avowed admiration for the paintings of Eugène Delacroix, and especially the earlier painter’s use of Prussian blue and citron yellow in paintings of Christ, Soth theorizes that Van Gogh used these colors to represent Christ in The Starry Night.  He criticizes Schapiro’s and Loevgren’s biblical interpretations, dependent as they are on a reading of the crescent moon as incorporating elements of the Sun. He says it is merely a crescent moon, which, he writes, also had symbolic meaning for Van Gogh, representing “consolation.” 
1889. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4″ (73.7 x 92.1 cm)
This mid-scale, oil-on-canvas painting is dominated by a moon- and star-filled night sky. It takes up three-quarters of the picture plane and appears turbulent, even agitated, with intensely swirling patterns that seem to roll across its surface like waves. It is pocked with bright orbsвЂ”including the crescent moon to the far right, and Venus, the morning star, to the left of centerвЂ”surrounded by concentric circles of radiant white and yellow light.
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.
New York: The Museum of Modern Art
Starry Night was painted while Vincent was in the asylum at Saint-Rйmy and his behaviour was very erratic at the time, due to the severity of his attacks. Unlike most of Van Gogh’s works, Starry Night was painted from memory and not outdoors as was Vincent’s preference. This may, in part, explain why the emotional impact of the work is so much more powerful than many of Van Gogh’s other works from the same period.
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.
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.