On the occasion of Vincent van Gogh’s birthday, we bring to you the real story behind his most exquisite piece – ‘the starry night.’ Amongst the artists of the nineteenth century, Vincent van Gogh is known to all and celebrated by most. The Starry Night painting by Vincent in 1889 is not just his most famous work but also one of the most famous paintings in the world. However, the fame and recognition that van Gogh and his paintings receive today are far more than the time it was created.
Despite having gained applause two years before his death, Van Gogh lived most of his life in ambiguity. Born in 1853 in the Netherlands, Van Gogh was interested in art from a young age and worked as an art dealer for a few years in his early adulthood. Before beginning his artistic career in 1880 at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, he tried his hand at many professions.
Even though Van Gogh worked as an artist for a decade, he has created more than 850 paintings and over 1,300 drawings, sketches, and other works on paper. In spite of his artwork, he only sold a handful of works before his death by suicide in 1890, when he was thirty-seven years old.
The enrapturing ‘The Starry Night’ was painted in 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent Van Gogh painted Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, where he lived for a year after a breakdown and the mutilation of his left ear. Painted with oil on canvas, the artist attempted to capture the view from the window in his room and dedicated his nocturnal vision to creating this magical masterpiece.
Van Gogh preferred working from observation, however, was not allowed to paint in his room, so he began painting the star he had seen in his studio without any reference view by applying paint to the canvas directly from the tubes to create the image’s iconic thick lines and intense colours. As a result, a dream-like image features wavy cypress trees in the foreground against the glowing stars, a bright crescent moon, a swirling sky, rolling hills, and a village in the background. Some of the elements, such as the mountains in the distance and the existence of the village are true to the view van Gogh would have seen from his window. Meanwhile, other parts, such as the steeple of the church were imagined by him.
Upon its completion, van Gogh actually believed the painting to be a failure. He wrote to Theo, his brother, "All in all the only things I consider a little good in it are the Wheatfield, the Mountain, the Orchard, the Olive trees with the blue hills, and the Portrait and the Entrance to the quarry, and the rest says nothing to me."
Van Gogh assigned an emotional language to night and nature that took them far from their actual appearances. His work is an inspiration to many, wishing the brightest star a very happy birthday!
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