“Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh has risen to the peak of artistic achievements, it is one of the most well-known images in modern culture.
Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” while in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at the age of 36. In one of letters to his brother Theo, he wrote "This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big."
There is the night sky filled with swirling clouds, stars ablaze with their own luminescence, and a bright moon. Below the rolling hills of the horizon lies a small town. Cool dark colors and the fiery windows spark memories of our own warm childhood years filled with imagination of what exists in the night and dark starry skies. To the left of the painting there is a huge dark structure that develops an even greater sense of size and isolation. The curving lines mirror that of the sky and create the sensation of depth in the painting.
The “Starry Night” is based on van Gogh’s direct observations as well as his imagination, memories, and emotions. Artist´s choice of color in painting has been much debated, particularly the dominance of yellow in this and other late works. Some believe van Gogh may have been suffering from lead poisoning or a type of brain disease and that this explains his strange use of color in later paintings.
In the “Starry Night”, where the deep sky sits above the quiet town, Van Gogh´s passion for nighttime is very evident. It seems that van Gogh is contrasting life and death with shining stars and a peaceful village. The main light sources are the bright stars and moon.
In this masterpiece van Gogh´s unique, thick brush strokes are very much obvious and it´s possible that his severe attacks further dramatized his brush work. However, there is a consistency to his technique that adds even more depth as well as a rich texture to this painting.
“Starry Night” is regarded as Vincent van Gogh’s greatest work of art and is one of the most reproduced images in Western art. With its unique style Starry Night is a much-loved painting that has been the focus of poetry, fiction, and music. The canvas can today be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.