Vincent van Gogh: Starry Night
A Brief Understanding of the Starry Night Paintings.
Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh has
to the peak of artistic achievements. Although Van Gogh sold only one painting
his life, the aftermath of his work is enormous. Starry Night is one of the
well known images in modern culture as well as being one of the most
and sought after prints. From Don McLean's song 'Vincent' (Starry, Starry Night) (Based
the Painting), to the endless number of merchandise products sporting this
it is nearly impossible to shy away from this amazing painting.
One may begin to ask what features within the painting are responsible for its
growing popularity. There are actually several main aspects that intrigue
who view this image, and each factor affects each individual differently. The
will be described below:
- 1. There is the night sky filled with swirling clouds, stars ablaze with their
luminescence, and a bright crescent moon. Although the features are
this is a scene we can all relate to, and also one that most individuals feel
and at ease with. This sky keeps the viewer's eyes moving about the painting,
the curves and creating a visual dot to dot with the stars. This movement
the onlooker involved in the painting while the other factors take hold.
- 2. Below the rolling hills of the horizon lies a small town. There is a
essence flowing from the structures. Perhaps the cool dark colors and the
windows spark memories of our own warm childhood years filled with imagination
what exists in the night and dark starry skies. The center point of the town
the tall steeple of the church, reigning largely over the smaller buildings.
steeple casts down a sense of stability onto the town, and also creates a
of size and seclusion.
- 3. To the left of the painting there is a massive dark structure that develops
even greater sense of size and isolation. This structure is magnificent when
to the scale of other objects in the painting. The curving lines mirror that
the sky and create the sensation of depth in the painting. This structure also
the viewer to interpret what it is. From a mountain to a leafy bush, the
of this formation is wide and full of variety.
Van Gogh painted Starry Night while in an Asylum at Saint-Remy in 1889.
During Van Gogh's younger years (1876-1880) he wanted to dedicate his life to
of those in poverty. Many believe that this religious endeavor may be
in the eleven stars of the painting. In Genesis 37:9 the following statement
"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said,
have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven
made obeisance to me."
Whether or not this
inspiration is true, it is known that the piece is not the only Starry Night
that Van Gogh ever created. Gogh was quite proud of a piece he had painted
in Arles in 1888 that depicted stars reflecting in the Rhone River. Like
Starry Night this previous piece shares many of the qualities that have made Starry Night
a popular painting. For instance:
- The stars in the night sky are surrounded with their own orb of light.
- The Reflection of artificial light (new to the time period) from Arles in the
makes the one's eyes move around the painting; thus keeping the viewer
- There are structures in the distant lit up in a warm glow of light.
Starry Night over the Rhone contains one final aspect that is not featured in
Starry Night piece; humans. In the bottom right corner of the painting there
a couple walking along the river. This gives the painting a down to earth feel
a natural quality. Although this painting is not nearly as popular as the
Starry Night piece, it still creates a pleasurable and life like environment
look at. It is also resides as a very sought after piece when it is placed
Starry Night and the following painting to create a montage of Van Gogh's
Cafe Terrace At Night
also painted in Arles in 1888. The similarities between this piece the
two are vaguely similar. This piece offers a new type of perspective on the
- The Stars are barely consumed in their own light.
- The bright yellow wall draws in ones attention rather then assisting to move
eyes around the painting.
- There is a sense of balance attributed to the dark cityscape silhouette to the
of the painting (Contrasting the bright yellow wall).
Never the less these three paintings have astounded millions of people and
three of the best works ever to flow from Van Gogh's paint brush. Each Day
of people crowd around the original paintings located in various art museums
offer their own personal interpretation as to the meaning of the pieces.
we may never know how Vincent himself truly felt about these paintings,
still embraces their greatness.
Feel free to click on any of the paintings on this page to receive an enlarged
Below you can look around through various other information we have listed
the Starry Night pieces. Or download wallpapers, icons, and other things for
The Vincent van Gogh Gallery's Starry Night Resource:
- Buy High Quality Van Gogh Prints
Search Starry Night Prints
Search Cafe Terrace Prints
- High Resolution Images
- Drawing Sept 1888
- Painting Over the Rhone Sept 1888
- Painting September 1888
- Drawing June 1889
- Painting June 1889
- Starry Night Information:
- Understanding Starry, Starry Night Lyrics
- Starry Night Downloads:
- Free Wallpapers
- Free Icons
- Worthy Links:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Photomosaic of Starry Night (cool)
Return to Vincent van Gogh Paintings