CultureArtThe story behind Vincent Van Gogh’s, “Starry Night”

The story behind Vincent Van Gogh’s, “Starry Night”


Vincent Van Gogh’s, “Starry Night” is one of the most famous and recognized pieces of art from around the world. It has been customized as the background of famous movie scenes, used in famous photographs, painted on walls of houses, printed on to t-shirts, mugs, and whatnot.

It can be easily hailed as one of the masterpieces of Van Gogh but when it comes to the story behind this world-famous painting, a lot of people might still be unaware of it.

Van Gogh painted, “Starry Night” in 1889 when he was staying at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Van Gogh was being treated for his mental illness. He stayed well in the hospital and was given much more freedom than other patients, moreover, he was allowed to paint and read. He suffered from occasional relapse into paranoia, and it seemed that his mental health was recovering.

Vincent van Gogh

After some time he relapsed and started having hallucinations and suicidal thoughts as he was diagnosed with depression, this is when he took to dark colors that many call a tonal shift in his work. Blue and brown are the colors that dominate the “Starry Night”.

The villages that lay at the base of the painting are in brown, grey, and blue colors with each building outlined in black. The only bright colors used were the yellow and white of the moon and the stars, which might have been a symbol of the diminishing brightness in his own life. It is said that Van Gogh’s family was not supportive of his art, which was one of the major reasons that gave in to his mental illness.

Some say that the ”Starry Night” was completely a result of Van Gogh’s imagination, as none of the scenery matched the area around Saint-Paul or the view outside his window.

Van Gogh was a person who painted what he saw around himself, so painting something completely out of his own imagination was a break from his normal works. Others say that “Starry Night” was Van Gogh’s view from the asylum where he stayed, he left out the iron bars of the asylum, to symbolize the freedom he would rise to.

Text by: Sreyoshi Sil, IBTN9

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