Starry Night Composition
Vincent van Gogh
The night sky depicted by van Gogh in the Starry Night painting is brimming with whirling clouds, shining stars, and a bright crescent moon. The setting is one that viewers can relate to and van Gogh´s swirling sky directs the viewer´s eye around the painting, with spacing between the stars and the curving contours creating a dot-to-dot effect. These internal elements ensure fluidity and such contours were important for the artist even though they were becoming less significant for other Impressionists. Thus Starry Night´s composition was distinct from the Impressionist technique of the 19th century.
The artist was aware that his Starry Night composition was somewhat surreal and stylized and in a letter to his brother he even referred to "exaggerations in terms of composition. " The vivid style chosen by van Gogh was unusual - he chose lines to portray this night scene when silhouettes would have been a more obvious choice.
In Starry Night contoured forms are a means of expression and they are used to convey emotion. Many feel that van Gogh´s turbulent quest to overcome his illness is reflected in the dimness of the night sky. The village is painted with dark colors but the brightly lit windows create a sense of comfort. The village is peaceful in comparison to the dramatic night sky and the silence of the night can almost be felt in Starry Night. The steeple dominates the village and symbolizes unity in the town. In terms of composition, the church steeple gives an impression of size and isolation.
In the left foreground is a curvy cypress tree which is typically associated with mourning. It is painted in the same way as the sky with fluid lines which enhances the flow of the Starry Night painting well as its easiness on the eye. Starry Night Use of color
Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh´s choice of color in Starry Night has been much debated, particularly the...
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