Have you ever noticed that some pieces of art are everywhere? You'll find them on coffee cups, t-shirts, magnets, towels – they're practically your art-world stalker. Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" is one such art-celebrity. It's everywhere, and it's kind of like the rock star of the art world – more famous than its creator. But why?
Van Gogh painted "Starry Night" in 1889 while he was at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He spent several months at the asylum after suffering a breakdown in which he severed a part of his own ear (that's another story!).
Van Gogh's mental health was on the upswing, too, until it wasn't. Depression, hallucinations, and thoughts of ending it all took over. His work reflected this change, incorporating the darker colors of his early career. "Starry Night" is the poster child for this transformation. Blue takes over, covering the hills and blending them with the sky. The little village at the base is all browns, greys, and blues. And those stars? Well, they're like the pop stars of the painting world, decked out in yellow and white.
Now, let's talk brush strokes. They swirl in the sky, each dab rolling with the clouds and stars. The cypress tree bends with the branches' curves, creating an ethereal and dreamlike effect. The hills roll effortlessly, but the town is all straight lines, daring to interrupt the flow. Tiny trees soften the rigid architecture.
What's truly intriguing is that this painting came entirely from Van Gogh's imagination. None of it reflects the view from his window or the surroundings. For an artist who usually painted what he saw, this was a breathtaking departure from the norm.
But here's the juicy part: the painting plays with the idea of the natural versus the unnatural, dreams versus reality. Some even say it has a touch of divine inspiration. In the Bible's Genesis 37:9, Joseph's dream involves the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing to him – a prediction of his family's future reverence. Some link this quote to the painting, maybe a nod to Van Gogh's own family, who had their doubts about his artistic success.
Divide the painting into three parts. The sky, oh, it's the divine – dreamlike, otherworldly, and just out of reach. Then the cypress, hills, and ground-level trees bend and swirl, matching the softness of the sky. Lastly, the village, with its straight lines, seems to separate itself from the heavens. But wait, the dots of trees roll through the village, and the church's spire reaches up to the sky. Van Gogh brings the divine to the village.
So, there you have it – "Starry Night" isn't just a painting; it's a celestial puzzle. It's a dream, it's reality, and it's a little touch of the divine, all rolled into one. Van Gogh's masterpiece continues to dazzle and perplex, and it's as iconic as that famous rock star you just can't get out of your head.
Here at Paintvine, we love this painting so much that we've taken inspiration from it for our Christmas, Halloween and beach paintings. So if you're keen to experience the lucid brush strokes of Van Gogh, come along to Paintvine and paint swirling skies with us!