The Starry Night
By Vincent Van Gogh
The Starry Night is one of Van Gogh most popular paintings. It was created after he had committed himself to the Saint-Rémy asylum in 1889. Measuring 73.7 x 92.1 cm and using oil on canvas, the painting is on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Possessed by his personal demons and a short time after cutting off his left ear, he decided to paint the view from his cell in the asylum, the only drawback being that he was not allowed to paint there. Making various sketches he added various new elements that could not be seen from his window and started what was to be one of his masterpieces.
To paint a night scene is filled with difficulties. Choosing the correct background colour and projecting the light from twinkling stars and the moon is not an easy task. With his awe of nature, he could have got his inspiration from the surface of moving water with its rippling effect to create a natural fluid approach to his sky. Another possibility is that the rainwater on his window pane created a variety of patterns that he wanted to use in his work. Nobody will ever know why he painted his work in such a way but the result was outstanding and beyond anything else that was produced at that time. The village, the church, and the hills with their characteristic expressionism influence were all additional elements that he added with connections to previous works.
Van Gogh’s creativity has influenced many and ironically, the pain and turmoil that he went through at the time, helped him more than he could have imagined.