Starry Night By Van Gogh

Starry Night By Van Gogh

Starry night is a piece of artwork painted in June 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh in France, where he sought respite following a mental illness that he was suffering from.

Van Gogh is a Dutch artist who suffered depression for the better part of his life, which later grew into a mental illness that made him voluntarily isolate himself from people close to him and seek asylum in France (Wolf, 2008).

Van Gogh

He painted Starry Night while in his room in the asylum and a view facing the East and captured the earth and the sky (Gogh et al., 1975). The blue sky is above the earth and contains a lot of stars and a crescent moon and is portrayed as agitated and turbulent with intensely swirling patterns across it. In its background, it has a series of undulating mountains in black and blue colours on the earth’s surface.

A village is also visible in a quiet environment, with humble houses surrounding a church with a very tall steeple. In the foreground, the painting displays a flame-like cypress tree that goes past the top edge of the canvas and appears, connecting the earth and the sky (Gogh et al., 1975). The painting has a rich historical background that resonates well with the ethical and cultural values that Van Gogh held and is considered relevant to his work themes.

The piece of art was done with technical skills that were unmatched during the time Van Gogh painted it. Therefore, this work delves into the history of the painting while highlighting its ethical and cultural relevance and the technical skills with which Van Gogh painted it.

Starry night is a piece of artwork painted in June 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh in France, where he sought respite following a mental illness that he was suffering from.

Van Gogh is a Dutch artist who suffered depression for the better part of his life, which later grew into a mental illness that made him voluntarily isolate himself from people close to him and seek asylum in France (Wolf, 2008).

Personal perspective

Starry Night is a painting that looks catchy to the eye given its blue sky and the lovely yellow colours that Gogh used to paint the stars and the moon. I felt fascinated by the undulating mountain landscape in the background that gives the painting beautiful natural feeling kin to a tourist attraction site.

Van Gogh must have done some excellent work in terms of the skills he used to do the painting and tailored to ensure that his final output was excellent.

The natural setting of the painting also informed my choice of wanting to analyze it because I am an ardent admirer of nature and its natural environment, thus resonating well with my admiration. Van Gogh based his painting on landscapes, the then overriding theme in the art industry (Schwind, 1985).

Artists were dissatisfied with the modern urban settings as urbanization had contributed to the erosion of values. They thus resorted to themes gravitating around nature and landscapes, which I found quite pleasant.

Historical perspective

Starry night is a piece of an art oil painting done by Van Gogh in Paris while in a mental hospital where he was taken after he mutilated his left ear in a fight with someone (Soth, 1986).

Van Gogh produced emotional and visually attractive oil paintings in his decade-long career and wrote many letters to his brother Theo that gravitated mostly around nature (Gogh et al., 1975). In the late 19th century, Van Gogh did his work; the landscape was the overriding theme in the art industry.

Most artists sought natural geographical settings that resembled earthly paradises and where they could experience nature firsthand and incorporate its psychological and spiritual resonances into their work (Aragon et al., 2008).

It is against this background that Van Gogh’s painting work inclined to nature, with his initial compositions being based on the peasants he saw working in his Dutch countryside (Gogh et al., 1975). These featured Dutch peasants in a rural landscape that he rendered in dark, moody tones pointing to the peasants’ dark life.

In 1889, while in a mental hospital in France where he moved to seek medication for his mental condition that had disturbed him, Gogh painted this famous piece of art, The Starry Night (Haris, 2002).

In his painting, Gogh captures natural phenomena like cypress tree, undulating mountains, the sky and a village in a natural setting that he views eastwards from his room inside the story building in the wee hours of the early morning.

Technical perspective

Vincent Van Gogh painted his work of starry night using the modern style that he developed in Paris after moving to France in search of mental illness medication (Haris, 2002).

In Paris, he encountered and examined the works of Georges Seurat that bordered on Impressionism, Neo impressionism and pointillism ad got moved by his shorter brush strokes, harmonious colour match and liberal use of paint (Gogh et al., 1975).

Gogh then developed his style of Post impressionism by brightening his pallet and loosening his brushwork but emphasizing the application of paint on the canvas (Gogh et al., 1975).

Post impressionism encompassed works by artists who cared to communicate their interests to the world by expressing their psychological and emotional thoughts through bold colours and expressive images.

Gogh’s Starry Night painting was based on observation and imagination as captured in its outline. In his letter to Theo, his brother, he says that he sees the countryside a long time before sunrise from his room’s window with nothing but the morning star looking very big (Gogh et al., 1975).

He refers to the window in the Asylum in St. Remy, France. In the painting, a moon and star-filled sky dominate, occupying up to three-quarter of it, appearing turbulent, agitated and with intensely swirling patterns that span across its surface.

The atmosphere is also lit brightly by Venus-the morning star found to the left of the centre and a crescent moon to the far right. Below the expansive sky is a quiet village of humble houses surrounding a church with a steeple rising above the blue-black undulating background mountains.

At the foreground stands a cypress tree whose flame-like branches touch the edge of the canvas’ top (Gogh et ai, 1975). His imagination bit of the painting is depicted on a church’s steeple found in his home country, the Netherlands.

Ethical perspective

Through his artwork, Van Gogh conveys moral lessons that border on ethical standards necessary to shape morality in a society. Van Gogh reflected on his own life in this painting and described what he thought about his own life, which was plagued with depression was at the time of his work (Schwind, 1985).

By the time he made the painting, Van Gogh was struggling to recover from a mental illness that had pushed him to isolation and resulted from the fear that he could injure people he loved (Lee, 1981).

Despite the disease, Gogh still struggled to do his painting as it provided the only avenue through which he could communicate with people while in isolation (Arago et al., 2008).

His determination pours into the lives of young people who undergo similar situations as him the courage and hope that despite the life challenges one is facing, one still stands a chance of being heard, just like his work was also remarkably recognized after his death.

Starry night painting conforms to the landscape themes that characterized his work, and through this, he contributed to the enlightening of the people on matters concerning nature (Soth 1986).

He might have possibly been dissatisfied with the modern urban setting that had somehow contributed to moral decay in the society.

In its natural environment, while writing to his brother Theo concerning this painting, Gogh speaks optimistically about what it entails that primarily draws from nature (Gogh et al., 1975).

Through the piece of art, Gogh removes the iron bars that depicted imprisonment while viewing outside in his painting, an indicator that he yearned for freedom besides illustrating his idealized approach to painting.

Cultural perspective

Starry Night painting treats viewers to varied cultural tastes in both Van Gogh’s imaginations and works presentation. Van Gogh painted a sky that was distinctly separate emotionally from the earth and lied above it (Gogh et al., 1975).

He painted a turbulent, agitating sky and full of life, as is evident in the presence of many sources of light, including a crescent moon and stars. The darkness in the sky was brighter than the lighter parts. His night sky rolled with intense activities and energy that he yearned to be living in, while the kaleidoscopic light depicted in his painting signified the bright life one would always wish to live.

Below the energy intensive and brightly lit sky lay the quiet village with humble houses representing the low living conditions that the people were living in. Connecting the sky and the earth was a flame-like cypress tree with a traditional connection with mourning and graveyards (Aragon et al., 2008).

This pictorial relationship between the sky, earth and their connection through a cypress could be interpreted to a belief that had entrenched in the mind of Gogh about death and would later take out his own life.

Van Gogh developed his style of painting that he used to paint the Starry Night and called it Post impressionism after examining the works of Georges Seurat in Paris that were conformed to the classes: impressionism, Neo impressionism and pointillism (Gogh et al., 1975).

Most artists who came after him did to his painting style, a phenomenon that led to a new artistic culture. The technique produced high-quality paintings that appealed to the artist and the consumers of their art products.

Critical perspective

The initial look at the Starry Night painting treated me to a beautifully coloured piece of art that looked appealing to the eye and with a fascinating natural feeling.

However, upon analysis from different perspectives, I have learned that behind the enchanting scenery of the painting, there lies a profound message. Artists thus communicate to the world through their pieces of artwork, and the world should read deeper into those pieces of art to understand the meaning of the message they are trying to convey in them.

This is not limited to painting artists only but encompasses other forms of artwork such as poems, songs, and drama. The first impression of artwork is deceptive. It conveys the superficial outlook but covers the deep-lying intricate issues that can only be unearthed by subjecting the work of art to a critical analysis.

Van Gogh in Starry Night communicates severe issues through a single piece of painting that only becomes evident upon thorough analysis. He, for instance, speaks about and emphasizes the importance of nature by avoiding the use of urban settings and instead settles for a natural environment that he believes is pure and superior to the urban one (Wolf, 2001).

He also communicates from his painting about a vibrant sky and quiet earth connected through a cypress tree. Cypress tree has o traditional connection with death as it is found mainly in graveyards.

This message reflects his own life that, according to him, was meaningless on earth and to get to the sky, which was more vibrant and with bright energy, he had to die, and after a short period, he committed suicide.


Starry Night painting emphatically teaches the need for proper and critical artwork analysis. Artists communicate issues to the world through pieces of art. The world is expected to extract information from their works by reading deep beyond the superficial impression into the rationale of the art.

This assignment exposes learners to the techniques of analyzing pieces of art, and as such, their capability and insights regarding the extraction of information from such samples are significantly boosted.

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