Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night

by Alexandra Tuschka

One would like to think that van Gogh stood here on a hill and simply transferred what he saw onto the canvas. In truth, however, the painter was already in a mental hospital due to psychological difficulties, which he was only allowed to leave in company. The motif corresponds to the view from his room and will probably have arisen later from memory.


Letters indicate that Vincent himself was not very satisfied with the result of this work. Nevertheless, in Vincent's own words, the starry sky offered something like a religious refuge.

The blue-soaked and image-dominating sky is broken only by eleven stars and the bright crescent moon.


In the center of the picture, one finds a swirl of light in the clouds. Does it signal the origin of the world? At least it is not earthly life that plays the main role here. Only a cypress blazes like a fire on the left and connects both worlds. The village, the mountains - unmoved they lie quietly in the lower picture background. However, the village is largely invented and feeds on the imagination of the artist and his memory of the Dutch homeland. The horizon line is low and provides a stage for the moving sky.


The painting stylistically belongs to Post- Impressionism, as it expresses the subjective and emotional feeling of the painter. The expressive forms with which he reproduces this impression certainly originate from van Gogh's state of mind - but they also point to the eponymous and now following epoch of Expressionism.


Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night

Oil on canvas, 1889, 73.7 × 92.1 cm, Museum of Modern Art in New York