What did you notice when you first saw The Starry Night by Van Gogh?
The swirling clouds?
The moon or the church— or maybe something else altogether.
As most of us know, the famous Starry Starry Night painting was made in 1889 in an asylum room where Van Gogh was shifted while recovering from ear amputation and mental illness.
But what we don’t know is that he didn’t randomly think of drawing a beautiful sky filled with night stars and a spectacular cityscape.
He made it to suppress the pain he had been enduring for the longest time.
We may see The Starry Night by Van Gogh, a stunning piece of art ever made. But there’s a painful history residing beneath it, which we’re going to talk about in this blog.
Do you know Van Gogh was in immense pain?
He was in a state of doing nothing but producing art, during his stay at St. Paul Asylum.
But what exactly did Van Gogh do? How did The Starry Night by Van Gogh become a world-famous painting?
Keep reading as we cover all the facets of The Starry Night by Van Gogh—its history, accolades, compositions, and whatnot!
Table of contents
Van Gogh’s Inspiration and Interpretation
Van Gogh’s health had always been a serious issue, since his childhood. He had hallucinations, migraines, and bipolar disorder, which made his life worse with each passing day.
Van Gogh went through several treatments, from manic depression to Epilepsy.
His life wasn’t less than hell. However, his physician, Paul Ferdinand Gachet, would aid him with his Epilepsy, and bring several positive changes to his life. Such incidents became an active part of the painting.
When you look at Starry Night by Van Gogh, don’t you feel that the art featured a yellow dominating night sky?
Yes, right. There are some reasons why this is so:
The first is his addiction to absinthe, meaning overconsumption of it made him see every object in the yellow hue.
The second is his treatment, which included several medicines with Digitalis that partially cured his Epilepsy, a nervous disorder, and led him to see objects in different shades of yellow.
Van Gogh was as talented as several other Impressionists and even Abstract Painters; Van Gogh’s art was his expression, which is evidently seen in the Starry Night painting.
When Van Gogh admitted himself to the French Asylum, everybody knew how gifted this Starry Night painter was.
Unlike other patients, who indulged in lynching hospital property and creating chaos all across the place, he chose to produce art and seek respite from depression.
Whatever he made was later sent to his brother, Theo Gogh, who served as his art dealer.
The Starry Night was one such creation by Van Gogh during his stay!
What is the Meaning of The Starry Night?
The Starry Night may be worth millions, but it was an escape from reality that caused him immense pain.
When you look at Van Gogh’s Starry Night, you see nothing but spectacular art that displays the beauty of nature.
However, there was intense suffering and hardship behind it, which left the art lovers numb and speechless.
In the next section, we’ll learn about Van Gogh’s life during his stay at the French Asylum, and how he drew the famous Starry Night art.
(Also Read: The Last Supper Painting)
History and Significance
In order to know why Van Gogh, sitting in his room, drew the magnificent art, The Starry Night, we must know what his life was like at that point. Plus, we must examine his relationship with his fellow artist friend, Paul Gauguin.
We all know Van Gogh admitted himself to the French Asylum. At that point, he had only one ear, the other was mutilated by himself, and some reports said he handed it to a prostitute in a nearby brothel in Arles, France.
But what exactly happened to him? Why did he cut off his own ear?
According to theories, Van Gogh developed a close relationship with Paul Gauguin.
During his stay in Arles, Paul was invited by Van Gogh when he was working on an artwork, Yellow House.
Although Van Gogh was forced to stay indoors as he had eyestrain, he eagerly wanted Gauguin by his side.
Paul did show up and stay with him for a few weeks, but they quarreled more often over the nature of art, resulting in separations.
As a result, Paul Gauguin left him for good, and out of anger, Van Gogh cut off his own ear in the following weeks.
Suggested Read: About Salvator Mundi
When did Van Gogh admit himself to St. Paul’s Asylum?
In order to seek help, he admitted himself on May 8, 1889, at a French asylum, the place where he drew this finest landscape painting, The Starry Night.
He didn’t draw it as soon as he moved to the asylum. His initial days at the hospital were rough, as the authorities wouldn’t let him do what he wanted.
As a result, his health deteriorated, and the hospital moved him to a small and dark room that had a beautiful view of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
He’d write letters to his brother, Theo, and demand authority to provide him with art supplies. Because he wanted to ingest it to kill himself or produce art, that was the only possible way to escape from the reality that caused him immense pain.
Enraging environments, lynching on hospital properties, and others were common. However, unlike others, he didn’t commit any violence associated with the hospital.
But he was forcefully shifted to a room that featured an iron-barred window with a beautiful view of the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, which later became the prime subject of his art, The Starry Night.
He’d observe the activities happening in the village; he’d look at the sky. Perhaps because he saw something that normal people could never see.
Over the course of a year, he drew over 150 pieces of art.
His tenure as a patient was heart-wrenching but quite creative, as he drew several artistic works that, in today’s time, are owned by renowned art galleries and museums.
The one that garnered tremendous attention and cult-following was The Starry Night by Van Gogh.
Here’s how he did it…
(Suggested: Bal du Moulin De La Galette)
Composition and Analysis
The composition of Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting is tricky, surreal, and astonishing.
The color yellow dominates in the Starry Night painting. Why? Perhaps because Vincent found his solace in the painting.
Whirling clouds that instantly catch viewers’ attention say a lot about Vincent’s mental health.
Depressed and helpless, Van Gogh drew the painting Starry Night in a way that every viewer would resonate with.
He significantly drew a cypress tree in the left foreground.
A church in the middle of the village whose tower would instantly catch anyone’s attention.
A glorious mountain in the background, and whirling clouds that seemed to be in a rush.
The depiction of the sky in The Starry Night by Van Gogh was unusual; no painters at that juncture would ever think of depicting the sky in such a way.
He did it because he may have leveled up his imagination, or he may have done it in the absence of his senses, as he had been mentally ill.
Created in 1889, The Starry Night by Van Gogh was contrary to the composition of impressionist paintings that were significantly popular at that point.
The most astonishing part of Van Gogh’s Starry Night’s Composition is its colors; there is a dash of red on the walls of the houses shown in the village, the dominance of yellow in the background, and a subtle mixture of blue, white, and black on whirling clouds in the background.
The Starry Night by Van Gogh, the most expensive painting, was a representation of a view of Saint Remy, and it was the night sky that made the village look a little gloomy, which he did represent on purpose.
Basically, it evokes a black-and-white feel, which predominantly shows progress in Van Gogh’s mental health, meaning the colors indicate hope that was added to the sky, mountains, and moon.
The church is in the middle, as some researchers suggest, of the unity, as it connects the village and its central figure that separates the cypress city on one side and mountains and clouds on the other side.
The sky, which looks contrasting and bright, and the city, which has a dash of different colors and is particularly gloomy, are none other than Van Gogh’s comparison of life and death.
Now you know how The Starry Night by Van Gogh was composed and crafted with vibrant hues and contours.
Let’s see how Van Gogh’s Starry Night was received by critics.
Reception and Acquisition
The Starry Night by Van Gogh is undeniably the best and most expensive piece of work ever produced in art history.
The brush strokes that are seen in the sky night painting amazed the world; it’s the purest art form, significantly opposite to impressionist and neo-classical styles.
Although many French artists, or painters from different countries, held brushes and painted on a canvas purposely to express their emotions, Van Gogh did it for the same reason as he was drowning in the hollowness with each passing day.
It’d be hard to label the price of The Starry Night by Van Gogh as it’s worth millions of dollars; the unconventional art, meaning it’s not focused on accurate images but the contours, gained massive attraction for many reasons.
The visuals depicted in The Starry Night were as powerful as the artist’s imagination.
If you’d closely look at each element, it would certainly rekindle your imagination and perhaps transport you into a new world where you could learn about this starry night’s painter’s mind.
(Also Read: Rothko’s No. 61)
What is the Price of The Starry Night By Van Gogh?
The Starry Night is one of the most loved and studied paintings ever produced in the history of the art world.
Such a piece of art never goes on auction.
If it ever goes, it will, without a doubt, command stratospheric prices. Perhaps many art lovers and affluent people would flock to buy it at the best price.
According to sources, the value of The Starry Night by Van Gogh is between $70 and $100 Million and is currently owned by the Museum of Modern Art.
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When you reread Van Gogh’s life or study ‘The Starry Night by Van Gogh’ in detail, you’ll sense his pain, agony, frustration, and every emotion that he experienced at the last juncture of his life.
I’d say the Starry Night painting was a by-product of his escape from reality, which drained him and made his life no less than hell.
It’s the epitome of a collectively enormously beautiful and coveted subject matter that would stun any art lover.
The details are tricky yet spectacular enough to make it one of the most famous paintings of all time.
Van Gogh’s paintings are usually known for their unusual composition—the Starry Night is the epitome of his finest knowledge about colors and nature.
The success of The Starry Night partially goes to his brother, Theo Gogh, who supported and took care of him when the world refused to comfort him.
Those letters that he would write to his brother, talking about his mental health and the art that he was working on, helped him overcome his mental illness.
Perhaps, the world wouldn’t have experienced this masterpiece if he hadn’t been admitted to Saint Remy’s asylum, where he saw a view that he put onto canvas and that the world would never forget.
Thank you for reading this blog “The Starry Night by Van Gogh” till the end.
I hope I did justice to this topic and put out the information that you were looking for.
Van Gogh left the world at a very early stage of his life. But he created dozens of magnificent artworks, which the art world never fails to celebrate.
Some art went unnoticed, and some remained an asset to their owners.
But you can own any of this art with a few clicks.
Yes, you heard that right. You can get a museum-quality Van Gogh’s replica and have it mounted on your favorite wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vincent Van Gogh created The Starry Night painting.
Van Gogh’s Starry Painting is located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, United States.
Van Gogh recreated the scene of the view that he had through the iron-barred window from his asylum room, which featured a village beautifully appearing because of the effect of the night sky. Perhaps because of this, The Starry Night by Van Gogh has been popularly recognized as the Night Sky painting.
Van Gogh was admitted in the spring of 1889 because of his terrible mental condition. No medication or consultation helped him come out of a breakdown more than the art he produced during his stay at the asylum in St. Paul. He created over 150 pieces of art, out of which the most coveted and recognized came out to be The Starry Night by Van Gogh.
Vincent Van Gogh finished painting The Starry Night in June 1889.
The Starry Night by Van Gogh was painted during his stay at St. Paul Asylum, which is in Saint Remy de Provence, France.
The Starry Night features a gloomy village and a bright and dazzling night sky. The Starry Night artist perhaps wants to show the connection between life and death through the effects of the night sky.
Yes, Van Gogh’s Starry Night is an oil on canvas painting. The fine strokes used while drawing the whirling clouds and the bright yellow moon justified his choice of colors.
Interesting facts about the Starry Night painting: Vincent Van Gogh died two months after the completion of the Starry Night painting. The painting was made in his room at St. Paul’s Asylum. Van Gogh’s Starry Night was promoted and taken care of by his sister in law, Johanna, who must equally be credited with the success of his famous Night Star art.
The dimensions of the famous painting Starry Night are 74cm by 92 cm
The Starry Painting is worth between $70 and $100 million and is not on sale!