Van Gogh case and “Starry Night” description

Van Gogh was a great painter who wrote “ ” in 1889. In this article we’ll provide you with the information of what are the experiences of a great artist. That is hidden behind the cosmic harmony of the night sky and the brilliance of moon and stars, the flames of cypresses, and what is in this violent landscape, created by the power of imagination, being a patient in the hospital for the insane.

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is a great Dutch artist, a vivid representative of Post-Impressionism.

His creative path was short-lived but very fruitful: for more than ten years he created about 2000 unusual paintings.

"Sunflowers," "A pair of shoes," "Consumers of potatoes," "Starry Night" - this is an incomplete list of famous works that Van Gogh painted.

In the family of Van Gogh, all men dealt with paintings or served in the church. In 1869, without even finishing school, he began to work in a firm that sold paintings. In truth, Van Gogh used to sell pictures not very well, but he had unlimited love for painting, and he also had good languages.

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At the age of 20, he went to London, where he spent two years, which changed his whole life.

The most fruitful time in the work of his life is the Paris period. He met bright representatives of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Claude Monet, Kamil Pissarro, Renoir, Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh followed his style and at the same time studied various techniques of the natural and modern painting. His impressions and the palette started to brighten imperceptibly.

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There were little remains from light to the present riot of colors, characteristic for its paintings of recent years. Van Gogh himself repeatedly felt into depressions, but the art had always saved him.

Farness, coldness and beautiful stars have always attracted people. They pointed the way to the ocean or desert, foretold the fate of individuals and whole states, and helped to understand the laws of the universe. They inspired poets, writers, and artists. Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night" is one of the most controversial, mysterious and enchanting works that glorify the beauty of night sky. Van Goghs Starry became for him a kind of psychological therapy that helped to defeat depression, frustration, and tension. Gogh painted Starry to make us feel the emotionality of the creation, its vivid colors, and the use of impressionistic techniques.

The composition of “Starry Night” painting

This painting is divided into two horizontal planes: night sky (the upper part) and the earth (the urban landscape below), which permeate the vertical cypress trees. Rushing to the sky, like the tongues of flame, cypresses with their outlines resemble a cathedral executed in the style of "flaming Gothic."

In many countries, cypresses are considered to be cult trees, symbolizing the life of the soul after death, eternity, frailty, and they help the soul find the shortest path to heaven. The viewer observes these trees coming to the fore; they are the main characters of the picture. This construction reflects the main meaning of the work: the suffering human soul (perhaps the soul of the artist himself) belongs to both, the sky and the earth.

The impressions for the painting is that life in the sky looks more attractive than a life on earth. This feeling is created due to the bright color and unique writing technique of Van Gogh: using long, thick strokes and a rhythmic alternation of color spots. He creates a sense of dynamics, rotation, spontaneity, which emphasize the incomprehensibility and all-encompassing power of the Cosmos. The celestial bodies are greatly enlarged, and the spiraling vertices in the sky are stylized as images of the galaxy and the Milky Way.

The effect of the twinkling of celestial bodies is created by the combination of a cold white color and the whole shades of yellow. The yellow color in the Christian tradition was associated with the divine light, with enlightenment, while white was a symbol of the transition to another world, a symbol of the time.

The picture is also repleted with celestial shades, from pale blue to dark blue. The blue color in Christianity is connected with God, symbolizes eternity, meekness and humility. The sky is given to most of the canvas, to show his superiority and power over the world of people.

The psychological aspect of the drawing

Van Gogh wrote "Starry Night" during his being in the hospital for the mentally ill people, in moments of clarification of consciousness. Creativity helped him to recover; it was his salvation. There is the charm of insanity and his fear, and we see that at any moment painting can absorb the artist, lure into his soul, like a funnel. If we look only at the top of the picture, it is difficult to understand whether we are looking at the sky or the exciting sea in which this sky is reflected with the stars.

The association with the whirlpool is not accidental: it is both the depths of the cosmos and the depths of the sea in which the artist sinks-loses all the identity. This, in fact, means madness. The dark sky and water are transformed into a single whole; the horizon line disappears, the inner and outer lines merge.

The center of the picture does not even have one vortex, but two: one bigger, one smaller. A head-on collision of unequal rivals, senior and junior. Or maybe the brothers? For this fight, you can see a friendly but competitive relationship with Paul Gauguin, which resulted in a deadly collision (Van Gogh at one point rushed at him with a razor, but as a result did not kill him, and later hurt himself by cutting off his earlobe).

And indirectly - the relationship between Vincent and his brother Theo, too tight on paper (they maintained intensive correspondence), in which, apparently, there was something forbidden. The key to these relationships can serve as the 11 stars depicted in the picture. They refer to the story from the Old Testament, in which Joseph tells his brother: "I saw a dream in which I was met by the sun, the moon, 11 stars, and everyone was worshiping me."

The fact that we see three "I" Van Gogh in the picture is obvious. The first is the all-powerful "I," which wants to dissolve in the Universe, to be, like Joseph, the object of universal worship. The second "I" is an ordinary small man, freed from the passions and insanity. He does not see the rampage that is created in the sky but peacefully sleeps in a small village, under the protection of the church.

And its third, basic "I" is the cypress tree, which is removed from the village, is taken out of the human world. The branches of the cypress, like flames, are directed upwards. He is the only witness of the spectacle that unfolds in the sky. This is the image of an artist who does not sleep, who is open to the abyss of passion and creative imagination. He is not protected from them by the church and the house; but thanks to powerful roots, it is rooted in reality, in the earth.

This great artist is considered to be the best in describing the night in all its manifestations, and his paintings prove that. Van Gogh had one of the most special perception of the world around him and the unique individual manner of writing. No one painted starry night sky with such enthusiasm.


  • “An Analysis of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'.” UKEssays, .
  • “Art Critique: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh Essay Sample.” Bla Bla Writing, 10 Apr. 2017, .
  • “Starry Night.” Topics, Sample Papers & Articles Online for Free, 1 Mar. 2017,

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Updated: Mar 15, 2022
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Van Gogh case and “Starry Night” description. (2018, Mar 15). Retrieved from

Van Gogh case and “Starry Night” description essay
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