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An Analysis of The Starry Night, a Famous Painting by Vincent van Gogh

I am evaluating a famous piece by Vincent van Gogh titled, The Starry Night. In this piece, I see the wind in the air, I see the stars in the sky as well as, the light that expels off of them. I see the beautiful little village below all the wonder in the sky that God created. The village is painted using dark colors but I find comfort in the light coming from the windows. Colors used to paint the village are brown, grey and blue. Each building in the small village is clearly outlined in black but my eyes are directed towards the stars and the moon in the sky.

The air and sky have patterns that kind of flow like a spiral or whirlwind and the hills and the sky seem to blend together. It looks as if it might be cold or windy outside. There is a presence in the sky that goes beyond the elements and far beyond what you can see. The village seems to be quiet and still while the sky and the things above seem to have their own agenda. It looks like the painting was done in the early hours of the morning. The painting is calm yet exciting. The sky in this oil painting looks like it reaches into the heavens.

The Starry Night is an oil painting created on a canvas. The original artwork was 29 x 36 ¼”. The colors in The Starry Night are largely different shades of blue as well as, yellow, white, black, green and brown. The oil painting seems to have its own unique flow and rhythm. It seems, as though, the air, hills and trees have a life of their own. The painting has lines and patterns made up of dots that give this oil painting uniqueness.

Analysis: The elements of design used in The Starry Night are composition, color, tone and brushstroke. The Starry Night is made of whirling clouds, shinning stars and an even brighter moon. These aspects gave this paining fluidity (smooth elegance or grace). The use of white and yellow in this art piece direct attention towards the sky and bring the piece together in unity by the dominant color blue. The cypress tree and church tower are made up of vertical lines that break up the composition without taking away from the beautiful night sky. Value plays a key role in the color scheme as well because there are multiple shades of blue in this oil piece. The brushstrokes are thick, visible and not smeared together. This makes the lines in this piece distinct. Texture in The Starry Night is most certainly present. You can feel the art without necessarily touching the art. The primary shape used in The Starry Night are circles. Attention is drawn to the sky which have many circles that seem to be in motion.

The principles of design used in the Starry Night are balance, proximity, repetition and contrast. The Starry Night is asymmetrical meaning the left and the right side are not identical to one another. Balance is achieved in this piece by contrast. Proximity is used in this piece by the spirals in the night sky surrounding the stars, moon and clouds. Repetition is used with the circular spiral shapes repeated in the night sky. I notice that shape, repetition and proximity are emphasized in this particular piece with the circles and spirals.

Interpretation: This morning when I woke up I didn’t particularly want to be alive. I wanted to choose a piece of artwork that was kind of dark in a comparable way to how I feel. I already feel like I am going through a dark season in my own life. Initially looking at this piece it felt dark to me. The dark mystical bush at the top of the hill gives me a sense of danger and makes me feel insecure. Somehow this piece and this art evaluation has lifted my spirits. The wind, stars and the moon seem to have God’s presence in the mist. The night sky which could have been even darker are quite bright for the night sky. This piece makes me feel secure with assurance that it might be nighttime but even during the night God is still there for me.

I know during this time in Vincent van Gogh’s life he was said to have found religion. He was in an asylum, hallucinating and having mental problems in his own life. In a storm in his own life he created this masterpiece and it is very cool how it could speak to me during the storm I am going through right now in my own life. The Starry Night is said to be the view seen from Vincent van Gogh room in the asylum.

Looking at this piece gives me a sense that more is going on then what I can see with my eyes. The moon and the stars are very big and although it is nighttime it is very bright. At first glance, the painting is kind of dreary or gloomy but once you look again the sky looks like its dancing and seems more hopeful. There is a feeling of something bigger and greater than the small village in this painting. I sense God’s presence in this painting; like I can have an overwhelming sense of security knowing that God is above protecting all that is underneath.

Judgment: I cannot imagine what life might have been like for Vincent van Gogh in this season of his life. The hallucinations and mental instability was not something happened but definitely not by choice. I feel like I can understand what the artist was trying to communicate. I feel like he found stability in the Lord during some frightening times of instability. I believe the message van Gogh might have been trying to send is important. I cannot trust myself and the choices I make at times but knowing God is in control is a relief.

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