Critical Analysis: Starry Night over the Rhone

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Norris Freeman
Art Appreciation
Professor Gadson
20 February 2013

Critical Analysis: Starry Night Over the Rhone

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch artist from the mid 1800’s who was considered to have created approximately 2000 artworks. Growing up, he was classified to be highly emotional and having low self-esteem. Within those depressed emotions, it helped him pioneer the path of expressionism in his art pieces. But as he got more into him artwork he came more mature with his artwork and caused his color patterns and brush strokes to evolve into another style of art called Impressionism. Starry Night Over the Rhone was one of his last ‘few years’ paintings. It was painted in September of 1888. The canvas resides in Musée d'Orsay, Paris. This piece was created due to him being sick and ending up in the hospital in Arles, France. With that being said, this canvas was the best example of his Impressionism era. It consisted of depiction of lighting, composition, and subject matter. In the book of Living with Art, Mark Geitlin states, “Complementary colors are hues that intensify each other when juxtaposed and dull each other when mixed. On a color wheel, complementary hues are situated directly opposite of each other “(Geitlin 546). Van Gogh uses the simple color mixture of warm colors, which are different shades of yellow and cool colors, which are different shades of blue. By him using this technique, the viewer’s eye gets an understanding of the time and mood of the day. As you focus on the canvas, the sky shows a representation of darkness mixed in with bright stars (meaning that it is night time). Now as you look lower at the canvas and turn your focus to the river, the color pattern is dark with light to show the reflection of the sky and the houses, and minimum water movement, which depicts the night of being cool and calm. These helped the interpreters figure out the depiction of light. Vincent Van Gogh uses a very interesting approach with the use of...
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