Vincent van Gogh and The Starry Night

Essay by zitzitCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2009

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Vincent Van Gogh, one of the four greatest Post-Impressionists had powerful influence in modern art, is considered the best known of all nineteenth century painters (Lawrence, 515). Yet during his lifetime, he received no recognition and sold only one painting. Van Gogh was highly emotional but lacked self-confident because of his failures in every career he attempted and felt unloved and friendless (Vincent). He turned to art to express his strong religious feelings and his deep need for love and respect. In the course of his life, van Gogh created more than eight hundred oil paintings and seven hundred drawings. His striking colors, coarse brushwork, and contoured forms display the anguish of the mental illness that drove him to commit suicide at the age of forty-seven (Vincent). The Starry Night is the most famous van Gogh's painting and one of the most significant art masterpieces of the 19th century.

The Starry Night is the work of van Gogh's imagination and that is the reason why contours of houses and stars are vague rather than clear. It is the depiction of not only the village at night, but also the shining sky full of sparkling stars that looks so energetic and lively in comparison with calm and lifeless village. It is seemed that stars, the sky and the cypress symbolize the transition from life to death, and the death is like a trip to the star. As a result, the painting raises unusual associations and powerful emotions for viewers.

In the foreground of The Starry Night, van Gogh created a village and hills almost in the same colours as the sky that is so violent, spiralling and revolving. The whole painting is characterised by the utilisation of such whirling brushstrokes, and this is the third unique feature of The Starry...