The Stars in Van Gogh’s World
“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day .” He demonstrated this ideal through his painting “The Starry Night,” one of the most iconic paintings of nineteenth century. Through this painting, Vincent van Gogh shared a very personal experience with the viewer. The nature of the night became a symbolic image to van Gogh. The representation of the small town resembles the small scale of human life. The Church points directly upward, to the Heavens. Although van Gogh was not mentally stable, “The Starry Night” was created in moments of great clarity to him .
Fig 1, Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889. Oil on Canvas. New ...view middle of the document...
His expression of the sky represented how connected he felt with unearthly, Heavenly forces. Some believe that this painting could be a representation of religion, while others see it as the expression of what haunted him . “Loevgren too saw the Starry Night as a visionary image reflecting the artist's need for religion, especially in the face of loneliness and death .” As his emotional status deteriorated, van Gogh struggle to make one final painting to express everything he felt inside before it was too late and he could no longer paint.
Jirat-Wasiutyński stated that Soth believed that Vincent was just trying to illustrate his loss of faith within the painting, not actual Christianity of belief in Christianity. While it could just as easily represent van Gogh’s belief in the afterlife and how heavenly it would be. The unearthly sky of this painting could also be a representation of how much van Gogh was suffering while the painting was created. Vincent must have felt that his pain was unearthly, unexplainable, and unattainable for any other human being. God and faith would be the only two miracles that would eventually rid him of that pain .
Fig. 2., Vincent van Gogh, Wheat-field and Cypress Trees, 1889. Oil on canvas. London, National Gallery.
Van Gogh felt trapped inside his own mind, more than inside the psychiatric hospital he resided in. “The Starry Night” was that exact expression. The heavenly aspect to it could represent where he wished to be or how confident he felt towards God for allowing him to have such an ability to paint and represent nature. In 1889, the same year he painted “The Starry Night,” Vincent Van Gogh also painted “Wheat Field and Cypress Trees” which had the same movements and techniques as “The Starry Night.” “In conception, the image is closer to the Starry Night because of the use of the dark cypresses: in both paintings, they separate the nocturnal vision from the fore-ground and yet act as a visual link with the heavens .” In both paintings, the sky is represented as cloudy, unknown, and filled with clouds. Vincent is trying to represent how even if he is recovering from his sickness, there is always something in his way. He also is trying to demonstrate how even something as beautiful and heavenly as the sky can get over staged by the storms, the clouds, the stars, the sun, and the moon. Vincent van Gogh is using that as a metaphor of how his sickness has taken over his life and over staged his...