Friday, September 17, 2010

Wk 1: Vincent and the Starry Night

The Starry Night
1889 by Vincent van Gogh 29 x 36 1/4" MOMA

This is a painting of a blue night sky filled with spinning stars. Below the sky is a small town nestled in a valley. There is a church with a steeple that touches the sky. In the foreground there are some tall green trees that seem to echo the shapes of the church reaching and swirling into the sky. Some lights are on in the houses below. Vincent uses a limited palette of blues, greens and yellows in his night scene. The multitude of repeated yellow stars contrast vividly against the deep blue, blazing brightly in the night. Spatially Vincent puts us in the landscape, not in the valley below but directly in front of the sky elevating us into its richness. He uses thick paint to create bold lines and textures which add to the swirling movement.

Vincent was passionate about the beauty of the world around us. He communicates this passion through his use of bold strong deeply vibrant color and the energy and movement of his lines. Vincent was a man of the people and a champion of the poor. I think he wanted to remind everyone but particular the poor and people trapped in poverty that they could find some solace and comfort through the beauty of the landscape, through which they would feel the presence of God, as he felt Him.

The swirling sky, the sun-bright moon, the milky way turned to comets, the exploding stars - these reveal the unique and overwhelming vision of a mystic, a man in ecstatic communion with heavenly forces.

Title: Van Gogh's "Starry Night"
Author: B.
Source: The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, Vol. 9, No.2 (Nov., 1941), pp. 2-3