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Starry Night

c. davidpaulkirkpatrick.com

Van Gogh considered Starry Night a failure.

I can’t imagine standing before this beautiful painting, cringing with disdain and inadequacy as I usually do with my paintings.

Vincent Van Gogh’s brightly colored paintings of Sunflowers and Starry Nights don’t look like the paintings of a disturbed individual. However, he is probably as noteworthy for his infamous ear-severing as he is for his beautiful paintings.

To me, Starry Night is inspirational.

It’s one of his Nocturne Paintings, a series of landscapes he painted at night. Not an easy feat, to be sure. He loved it though. He liked the challenge, as well as the interesting effects he got.

The famous Starry Night was actually the view from outside his window at the asylum in Saint Remy. He was not allowed to paint in his bedroom, so he sketched the view many  times. When he was back at his home in Arles, he painted the sky. Though, he had planned exactly the way he would do so in the asylum [He left out the bars].

If you look closely at the painting, you’ll notice that the city below is a pretty ordinary city scene. It’s not particularly spectacular. What truly makes the painting sparkle, is the agitated sky.

Researchers have been able to determine that he painted the sky and the city separately. The city is an idealized city in Arles..

Being away from the artificial city lights and smog, he was able to see the brilliant colors of a clear sky. He wrote to his brother, Theo, “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” Scientists have been able to determine that what he saw was actually the planet, Venus.

I’m sure Van Gogh certainly didn’t enjoy the asylum. Who would? Yet he was able to see something beautiful out of what probably seemed like the ruins of his life. Can you imagine a world without Irises, or Starry Nights?

c. 2015

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