Starry night is a depiction of an actual village that Van Gogh visited during his lifetime. At the risk of merely defining the obvious, the fact that this is a depiction of an actual village evidences the portrayal of real, naturally occurring forms within his painting – forms that any person who has observed this painting, can attest are definitely a distorted rendition. The distortion of these forms is a demonstration of the type of art that would be later defined as abstract.
Abstract - Descriptive of art in which the forms of the visual world are purposefully simplified, fragmented, or otherwise distorted
Having said that, one of the first distinct feature representations of abstraction in this painting that I noticed was the peculiar way that Van Gogh painted the stars - Van Gogh’s stars are exaggerated to the point that their size is almost equitant to most conventional depictions of our sun; this is an obvious demonstration of his use of forms of the visual world which he purposefully distorted (perhaps to signify the residence of spirits on each star).
The second, most striking demonstration of the use of abstraction in this painting is Van Gogh’s simplification of the form of the elements of the scene – the stars, buildings, the mountains, the trees, etc. Van Gogh’s signature stylistic use of brush strokes is extremely simple. Consequently, nothing in the depiction of this small village is given much detail. In lieu of rendering a painting which attempts to replicate the exact detail of the village as he once perceived it, Van Gogh purposely exchanges...