Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Nicole Brittingham March 11, 2013 ART 101-04 Analysis assignment * Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh * This painting was made in 1889 during the postimpressionism era. * Starry Night is about 29”x36” and is made from using oil as a medium on a canvas. * This painting can be categorized as modern art. * Formal analysis * Within the composition of this painting, there is a peaceful village in the foreground and a dramatic night sky in our main viewpoint. There is a church steeple that dominates the village symbolizing unity in the town, and gives the impression of size and isolation.
The left foreground has a curvy cypress tree which is usually associated with mourning. * There are many lines throughout this work of art. All of the swirling lines in the sky direct the viewer’s eyes around the painting. The fluid lines throughout the painting enhance the flow of Starry Night well. The curving lines create a sensation of depth in the painting. * The spacing between the stars and the curving shapes create a dot-to-dot effect, ensuring fluidity. The contoured forms, shapes, and spirals in Starry Night were means of expression and used to convey emotion. The artist applied color in thick, broad, curved strokes to create texture. The texture of the bold brushstrokes, swirling circles, and swoops make the image seem to vibrate on the canvas. * The use of white and yellow colors creates a spiral effect and draws attention to the night sky. The dark blues and greens were complemented with touches of light pastel green showing the reflection of the moon. * The texture within this painting is visually meant to provide the viewer a sense of motion and vibrant light by exaggerating the twinkling of the stars out of realistic proportion.
The curvy contoured forms in the sky give the illusion of the wind blowing as well as the curved vertical lines in the tree. * The colors within Starry Night are well balanced because they all flow together. The dominance of the blue is balanced by the orange and yellow of the night sky elements. * When looking at this painting, the viewer would feel as if they were on top of a hill looking down on a village, making the night sky their direct view. This point of perspective is called linear perspective. * Van Gogh used a great deal of emphasis in the sky.

By using bright and vivid colors and swirls around the stars, he exaggerated them making them stand out. * Starry Night has more unity than variety, because everything just flows in this painting and gives you a sense of balance and harmony. * Content Analysis * Starry Night is a painting of a dramatic night sky over a peaceful town. * During the later years of the 19th century, a group of postimpressionists came together to rebel against impressionism because they wanted art to have more focus on the traditional elements.
Van Gogh’s painting was created in 1889, and fixated mostly on line and color with symbolism and emotion. * Starry Night was created to be art. Van Gogh expressed himself through his paintings. He once explained in a letter to his brother Theo saying, “I paint as a means to make life bearable… really we can only speak through our paintings…” * There are many interpretations of Starry Night, and one is that the canvas depicts hope. Van Gogh may have been showing that even with a dark night, it is still possible to see the light in the windows of the houses.
Another insight may have been; with shining stars filling the sky, there is always light to guide you. The painting could have also shown the vast power of nature and mankind pointing to the heavens. * During this time period, many artists painted to express their emotions and symbolize what they thought or how they saw things. Postimpressionists thought that impressionist art was too vague, so they felt they need to focus their art on using more elements of art and color.

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