Monday, January 11, 2010

A Starry Night

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day."
Vincent van Gogh

After years of studying this artist and that I find myself drawn more and more to van Gogh. He believed art was a form of expression in that it was an emotional and spiritual experience for him. Maybe that’s what draws me to him or maybe the fact that he was insane. Van Gogh was a heavy drinker and tobacco user which exasperated his mental illness. He didn’t get along with other artists.

A Starry Night is a perfect representation of the Post-Impressionistic style of painting. With its swirling colors and lines it incorporates not just the color and light that is found in the earlier works of these painters, but shows how forms and feelings also came into play. Swirls were applied so thickly in this painting that the paint itself cast shadows. His heavy brushstrokes and vivid colors portray the night sky as crazy and chaotic and the village below as peaceful and serene. It’s been debated whether the swirling sky represents his state of mind when he painted it. For van Gogh art was not a black night sky over a small town art was a personal expression of how he felt when he looked at the sky over the town. This is significant in that his ‘interpretation’ made him a pioneer in the modern movement of artists.

A Starry Night was painted in June 1889. Just over a year later, in July 1890, van Gogh walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He died two days later.

It’s been said there is a fine line between genius and madness.

A Starry Night