Van Gogh’s Masterpiece, Starry Night, is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world due to its timeless and universal beauty.
This piece was painted by Van Gogh in 1889 during his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Remy-de-Provence. While he was in hospital, Van Gogh was allowed to leave the hospital grounds to do art work as long as he was attended by staff. He even was given a studio in the hospital so he could continue to work on his painting that were started during his outings.
Unfortunately, during his stay at the asylum he relapsed and began suffering hallucinations, have thoughts of suicide and plunged into deep depression. This had an effect in the tonal choices used in his art work. He returned to incorporating the darker colours from the beginning of his career and Starry Night is a wonderful example of that shift. Blue is the dominant colour of this painting and it allowed him to be able to blend the hills with the sky. Even the village at the bottom of this piece is completed in the dark colours of browns, greys and blues with each building being clearly outlined in black. The brightness of the piece is found in the yellow and white stars and moon which stand out against the blue sky.
Van Gogh’s brush strokes are unique in this painting as they swirl, roll and bend throughout the piece creating an ethereal and dreamlike quality to the painting.
The biggest point of interest about this piece is that the scenery does not match any of the area surrounding Saint-Paul or what could of been seen from Van Gogh’s hospital window. This scene is felt to have been completely created from Van Gogh’s imagination. As Van Gogh was considered a man who religiously paints what he sees, this painting is considered a remarkable break from Van Gogh’s normal work.