Vincent Van Gogh, the creator of The Starry Night, was born in Groot Zundert, The Netherlands on March 30 th, 1853. Van Gogh was the son of Theodor us van Gogh, a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church, and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Van Gogh mainly painted and drew images of the poor in the early stages of his career. Van Gogh eventually painted his first important work in 1885, The Potato Eaters. In 1886, Van Gogh moved in with his brother in Paris and further improved as an artist. He stayed true to his own unique style, but was influenced by the Impressionists and the Japanese art.

His art became more colorful and bold. Van Gogh moved to Arles where he painted his blossom works. Later, Gauguin moved in with him. During a fit of irritation, Van Gogh cut off the bottom lobe of his left ear. He continued to suffer mentally and emotionally. He eventually was committed to an asylum.

It is at this asylum that Van Gogh painted his famous The Starry Night. He continued to battle with his mental illness and created more paintings. Finally, in 1890, Van Gogh set out to paint in the fields of Avers and shot himself in the chest. Van Gogh's work was increasingly becoming more critically acclaimed at the time of his death and was the beginning of the Expressionist era. Van Gogh's varying mental stability, depression, and nomadic lifestyle influenced his work.

Specifically, Starry Night is a visual art piece in the form of an oil painting on canvas. Its size is 29" x 36 1/4 ." The painting's physical appearance is that of representational art with a unique perspective of a night sky. The lines Van Gogh painted are thick and imply tremendous movement. The eye is drawn to the flow of the lines between the bright stars in the dark sky. The lines of the cypress tree in the foreground seem to set the tree aflame. The landscape in the middle ground has a cascading sense of movement.

The hues used in this painting are dark in nature, creating a realistic tone. Contrasting yellow is used for the illumination of the stars. The stars seem to glow against the cool-colored background. The composition is made up of the tree in the foreground and its position in front of the view of the town below. Above the foreground and middle ground is the background of the sky. The background is the largest component of the piece.

For this reason, the eye is drawn to the sky and the pulsating stars. The setting is the view of a town from a hillside with a tree in the close foreground and a dark, tumultuous sky overhead with beaming stars. Van Gogh's work was not valued in his lifetime. It was only post-humus that his paintings were appreciated.

In the post impressionist movement of the 1880 s and 1890 s, bold lines and color were not as characteristic as they became in the early age of modern art, the Expressionist movement. Van Gogh's Starry Night paved the way for paintings with movement and colors that seemed to come alive. The values present in this work seem to be a disturbance of color and movement. It may be reflective of the turmoil that van Gogh was suffering in his personal life. It is apparent that van Gogh's feelings came through his brushstrokes. Therefore, his depressed and dramatic life is characteristic of The Starry Night, as well as many of his other works.

There are several theories about the basis and subject of the painting. Some say that van Gogh's religious passion is the basis, supported by the contrast between the heavens and the quiet order of the village below. There is a possibility that the painting is inspired by the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, "Look, I have had another dream, e said, I thought I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars, bowing to me." Genesis 37: 10. Whether The Starry Night is a religious subject is unclear. However, it is obvious that van Gogh was not just painting an image of what he saw. A placid country town image has been rendered in heaving waves and fields of energy.

His personal emotions and disturbance is evident in the chaotic strokes of color and motion. Van Gogh himself said, .".. looking at the stars always makes me dream... Why, I ask myself, shouldn't the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to Taras con or Rouen, we take death to reach a star." I feel that The Starry Night has a timeless quality of a masterpiece. The flowing of line, contrast of color, and liveliness of brushstrokes are so appealing to the eye. Also, Van Gogh was one of the first artists to paint in this style, which makes the work one of the most important works of the nineteenth century.

The image is easily available on items such as postcards and mouse pads, so the general public also seems to have an appreciation for the aesthetic value of the piece. web web web Van Gogh, Mike Venezia, Regen steiner Publishing, 1988 Vincent van Gogh: Paintings and Drawings, J. van der Work.