Essay samples11 November 2019

The Starry Night by Van Gogh: Analysis of the Painting

When asking people about art, people often think of the Mona Lisa, Scream, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and of course, The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Starry Night was painted in 1889 while Vincent was in Saint Remy Hospital in France during the Post-Impressionism era. It is often thought that the painting was a depiction of what Vincent was seeing through his room window.

The painting shows us an overlooking view of a mountain, the city, and the vast, colorful night sky. Swirls of whites, blues, and yellows surround the picture as the sky, and browns with hints of green make up the mountain and the city near it. The composition of the picture is not centered at the horizon, so we can deduce that the point of view is from a higher spot. The Moon and the North Star, Polaris, are positioned just right as to balance the image.

Now, what makes The Starry Night so magnificent and interesting? It may be the style of how it was painted, making the darkness of the night so colorful and majestic, so surreal and unique. The use of the colors blue and yellow compliment each other to give the viewer a feeling of relaxing happiness whilst looking at it. The strokes, which are like tidal waves of emotion, tell us how differently Van Gogh saw the world.

The mix of emotion when looking at The Starry Night may also be attributed to Van Gogh’s struggles with his mental illness. He did mutilate his own ear prior to completing the painting, so we can infer that he was going through a personal struggle while completing the painting. However, something good did come out of his suffering. It did inspire a lot of people long after he was gone.

Luck is one thing, and genius is another. And with Van Gogh, we know that what he did was both. By looking at The Starry Night, we can certainly learn and feel a lot. It has stood the test of time up until now and will continue to be a source of inspiration and excitement. It is definitely considered a masterpiece.

Works Cited

“MoMA Learning.” Lee Bontecou. Untitled. 1959 | MoMA, https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night- 1889/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2019.
Richman-Abdou, Kelly. “Art History: How Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ Came to Be and Continues to Inspire Artists.” My Modern Met, 25 Apr. 2018, https://mymodernmet.com/starry-night-van-gogh/.

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