Art

Van Gogh's Starry Night....how would you describe his use of lines, colors, shapes and textures


I love that piece. How would you describe it? I will be happy to offer critisms and critique of your observations, however, I am not going to do your assignment.


Thanks Bob...I'm new to art, so here's what I'm come up with so far: After reading up on Vincent van Gogh I understood his panting a bit more then if I just looked at it. Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889, the year before he died. At this time, van Gogh was living at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, an asylum in Saint-Remy where he had commiteed himself.Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, but his painting may be van Gogh’s most famous. It is one of the most sought after and replicated. This painting of a village that van Gogh might have lived in or viewed from his asylum may have included aspects of his life. When gazing at this painting one feels as if they are atop a hill looking down upon a village with a churches steeple clearly visible. Some say it may be a reflection of his father, who was a Dutch Protestant pastor. A vast open sky and the stars that fill our universe are what your eyes get drawn to, almost like a dreamy state of mind. This could have been because of his depressed state of mind. The sky, which has colors of blue and yellow swirls and shades of yellow outlining stars and a crescent moon, is the most amazing part of this painting. He uses many textures of colors and shapes to depict a “Starry Night”. Van Gogh uses swirling patterns of various blues, yellows and white. The lines are not continuous lines but rather almost dashed lines of color. A big weathered tree of some sort gives the picture its focus towards the sky. The tree stretches up into the sky. Although this tree does not necessarily have branches or leaves its left up to the imagination. To me this tree may represent the mind and body or van Gogh withering away and reaching for the sky or heaven.

The tree is an array of swirly lines of black and grey almost like the shape of a fire rising to the sky, little speckles of white give the tree body, rather then it being all black and grey. The village are typical A framed type houses of blues and green, with black windows and doors. A few have yellowish, and even orange windows depicting light from within. One house has a redish rooftop. These houses are all linear, except for the cone shape of the church steeple. There seems to be rolling hills in the distance from the village made of blue, light blue and grey colors outlined in black. The sky is a mixture of blue, green, yellow, white dashed lines in a swirling array, like a wave, as if it was a storm moving across the painting. Stars outlined in white, light blue, leading to yellow circles to depict stars, these objects are almost like an orb floating. The crescent moon is outlined in yellow dashed lines encompassing the moon.

Since color creates clarity in shapes, size and dimension, van Gogh uses various subtle colors to allow the mind to perceive shapes or patterns. Transitioning from a lighter color to darker creates depth, such as the tree and stars and moon. Van Gogh’s use of lines reminds many or the rings in a piece of wood.


Not a bad analysis. I think during this time Van Gogh was leaving impressionism moving toward feeling in nature. Here the peace and tranquility of Earth (the village) is contrasted to the energy and chaos of the heavens, and you point out, may represent what lies beyond death. The lower center "star" is clearly Venus to me, here a morning "star". I am not certain of its meaning, but the use of white on it may mean a new day is coming. I strongly agree with your last paragraph.
I think I would stick to my feelings and emotions on evaluating this work, not reading too much into what Van Gogh meant to say...remember he was, some say, insane. The tree: is is a cypress, connecting in the painting the tranquil earth to the energy of the heavens, life after Earth. Some say in those days a cypress represented death; I don't know about that.
It is hard to analyze the works of insanity, I think more validity can be had by just sticking to how you feel about it, and what you see. Attaching meaning to it as the artist felt it is a stretch for me. However, I know artists who do not hesitate to do this.
Good analysis


How can you tell the tree is a cypress. I have read commentary about the paiting, but the "blackish figure" doesnt look anything like a tree. What about tecture and lines, what would you say about his use of these?



The texture of the sky is fluid, wavy, and full of chaos and energy. THe lines lead many directions. I think the heavens above, lines, texture are indicateing a lot of dynamics in the afterlife.


The tree? Hmmm. It has always looked like a cypress to me. Maybe I am wrong. Thinking on it, it is just like the tall cypress trees in the mountains near San Jose.
By the way, the village is in the mind of the artist: There was no village there near the assylm, and the buildings look as if they were lifted from memories of Holland. Who knows for certain on that?

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