The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night painted by Vincent van Gogh in June of 1889, can be recognized by many people across the world. Currently this oil on canvas painting is located in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York City. 

The Starry night is an abstract landscape painting of a dark village in France being awoken by the sunrise. The context of the painting is that Van Gogh was staring outside a window of his asylum room, at Saint-Remy-de-provence during sunrise. Van Gogh painted The Starry Night a few months after suffering a mental breakdown and severing part of his own ear with a razor. The painting was some of Van Gogh’s late works, as he committed suicide the next year.

Van Gogh was a landscape painter so staying in his asylum limited his subjects to paint, but his style was not. The Starry Night consists of a variety of principles and elements of art. For example, Van Gogh shows passage of time in a sunrise, by precisely mixing dark blue with yellow to form the sky. Also, he is able to show movement of wind by creating swirls in the sky. Both elements work exceptionally well together creating a unique sky. At the time that Van Gogh painted The Starry Night, he was unimpressed with the night affect, and believed it had pushed the limit of style at the time to far. Nevertheless, later on other artists started to be inspired by Van Gogh’s night affect.

Van Gogh had a very short career, consisting of only 10 years. However he was very productive, creating more than 800 paintings and 700 to 850 drawings for his brother. The MoMa bought The Starry Night from a private collector in 1941, afterwards becoming recognized as one of Van Gogh’s most famous works.

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