Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890): The Starry Night, 1889, Oil

Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890): The Starry Night, 1889, Oil

6/12/2021, 9:40:19 AM
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890): The Starry Night, 1889, Oil on canvas, 73.7 cm × 92.1 cm (29 in × 36 1⁄4 in), Museum of Modern Art, New York City ... . . . . 'The Starry Night', a painting of a scene at night with 11 swirly stars and a bright yellow crescent moon, is regarded as among Van Gogh's finest works and certainly is one of the most popular paintings in the world. Painted in June, 1889, it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. Van Gogh argued with Émile Bernard and, especially, Paul Gauguin as to whether one should paint from nature, as Van Gogh preferred to what Gauguin called "abstractions": paintings conceived in the imagination. In the letter to Bernard in the late November, 1889, Van Gogh recounted his experience in the fall and winter of 1888: "When Gauguin was in Arles, I once or twice allowed myself to be led astray into abstraction, as you know. . . But that was delusion, dear friend, and one soon comes up against a brick wall. . . And yet, once again I allowed myself to be led astray into reaching for stars that are too big—another failure—and I have had my fill of that." His brother, Theo referred to these pictorial elements in a letter to Vincent dated 22 October 1889: "I clearly sense what preoccupies you in the new canvases like the village in the moonlight (The Starry Night) or the mountains, but I feel that the search for style takes away the real sentiment of things." Vincent responded in early November, "Despite what you say in your previous letter, that the search for style often harms other qualities, the fact is that I feel myself greatly driven to seek style, if you like, but I mean by that a more manly and more deliberate drawing. If that will make me more like Bernard or Gauguin, I can't do anything about it. But am inclined to believe that in the long run you'd get used to it."

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