The painting "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh contains many of the elements typical of his later paintings. It is the purpose of this paper to critically analyze the work of art in terms of observation, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.
This painting was completed in 1889 shortly before Van Gogh's move to a mental institution. It presently is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. "Starry Night" is a landscape and skyscape in brilliant shades of blue, green, and yellow, with a tall, flame-like cluster of deep-green trees in the foreground. The forest-green group of trees are outlined in red which further suggests flames. The blue rolling horizon line resembles waves or cascading waterfalls, and the little village between the dark trees and horizon has a simple storybook quality. The buildings--five or six houses and a steepled church near the center--are child-like in their boxy simplicity. Near the village are various rectangular shapes which resemble more buildings, but they are not complete in their representation.
The upper two-thirds of "Starry Night" shows the Van Gogh style in its swirling, meteor-like spirals and balls. These are no ordinary stars. All of them are larger than any one of the buildings below, and their undulating movements dominate the painting. The round burst of color on the far right contains a pleasing quarter-moon shape in orange. The church spire points upward to the most dramatic of the sky swirls which are a lighter, larger version of the rolling blue hills.
This oil on canvas resembles the artist's work of one year later--"Road with Cypress and Star." The resemblance lies in subject matter (landscape, evergreen trees, and swirling sky), but more importantly, one sees the progression of Van Gogh's personal sense of urgency and agitation. The wavy lines seem to barely stay within the paintings. Every line of these paintings is restless