Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

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posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 07:50 PM
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Couldn't figure out what forum this would belong in so move if needed mods. But I have a question for the ATS members on this piece of art. I was doing work for my Visual Arts course and even though I have seen this piece before something kinda stuck out for me when I was doing an analytical writing on it.

How they described the way the painting had a wave like flow to some of the parts of it was very interesting. For example the swirls in the sky, the hills painted like ocean waves almost, and how what could be seen as a curvy tree in the foreground.



But to anybody else doesn't the the tree seem more like a fire? And off to the right does it not look like huge waves of water crashing down over the town too? I might be looking a little bit too far out of the box on this one, but thats why im asking for input on it. Does anybody else see it like that to?




posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:00 PM
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All of the natural formations in this picture appear to be fluid and wave-like, but I take it to be Van Gogh's artistic interpretation of the natural surroundings as they are at night. I was never sure what the bush-like thing in the foreground is....for all we know, the perspective is from the viewpoint of laying in a field and the bush is actually a wavy clump of grass.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:09 PM
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I don't see the "tree" as fire. But can lean toward where you are coming from. "Starry Night" is very Golden Ratio going with the flow, elements... fire would match the water, air, contrast, etc.. The composition overall,is one of my favs.


His love for nature reflects his ecstatic longing to be absolved by nature, and his descriptions of nature often refer to his experience of twilight and dawn, where the boundaries between night and day are transcended. In works where the light of the sun is depicted as a limitless and radiant source of light and warmth, the shadows are equally dark and deep. Read more at Suite101: The Golden Ratio in the Work of Vincent van Gogh | Suite101.com fransi-phillips.suite101.com...

Perhaps it represents smoke or shadow more so.
edit on 22-1-2012 by dreamingawake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by Brandon88
 


Ha! Now that you mention it, it does look kinda violent. Huge waves, a giant fire, and maybe the swirling sky is really heavy wind.

Never noticed any of that before. Never looked too close, though.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:17 PM
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reply to post by FissionSurplus
 


I wasn't to sure of what it was either my book said tree so I just went by that. If it is a tree the top half must splintered and fell off. But a clump of grass up close does seem right to.
edit on 22-1-2012 by Brandon88 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:22 PM
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reply to post by dreamingawake
 


I see where your coming from there is alot going on with it. This work is one of my favorites too I have much respect for Van Gogh, he devoted most of his life to his work. At some points it could be seen that the art was more important to him then his own life was.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:24 PM
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multiple ufo's causing natural disasters. it's one way of looking at it.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:25 PM
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reply to post by Figzer
 


That's what was getting my attention. It really looks like the towns being overtaken by the waves of water.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:29 PM
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I agree, it looks like there is water crashing over the town and the tree looks like fire. Maybe he meant for the opposing elements to be involved in the painting. I find artwork fascinating, so much information can be in one painting.



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:40 PM
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Well, he was a heavy absinthe drinker, and absinthe at the time had hallucenogenic properties in it. which would contribute a lot to his interperation of his subject matter.

If you compare his early work from when he lived in Neunen to the work he did in Paris, you can see a huge difference in style. I'd put it all down to his substance abuse and mental illness.

Starry Night is a beautiful painting, but like you said the deeper you look the darker it gets. Maybe Van Gogh at the time felt like the whole world was crashing in on him like the tidal waves you have described. The tree shaped like fire maybe subconciously symbolises his anger and resentment about the family, friends and lover's who had rejected him over the years.

It's open for debate really. That's what I love about art, you get so much out of it. It might mean something completely different everytime you look at it.

S&f
edit on 22-1-2012 by HallamFoe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:44 PM
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The wave like flow could be wind? Could have been a stormy night...again reflecting his unstable mind?
edit on 22-1-2012 by HallamFoe because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:44 PM
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reply to post by Brandon88
 



I recently read in one of my medical school books that Van Gogh suffered from epilepsy and was treated with digitalis.




(at that time, people suffering from epilepsy)...involves over medication with digitalis. People receiving large and repeated doses of this drug often see the world with a yellow-green tint. They complain of seeing yellow spots surrounded by coronas, much like those in “The Starry Night.” The artitists's physician, Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, may have treated van Gogh's epilepsy with digitalis, a common practice at that time.


source

this would explain the coloration and oddness of his final paintings like 'The Starry Night'
edit on 22-1-2012 by horseplay because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by Brandon88
 


That's a cypress tree in the foreground. They kind of look like that, but he put a lot more undulating movement into it with his working of the paint. The linear working of the whole thing is very much in line with his style at that time.

I think he was trying to capture the energies of the night. But to me, this wonderful painting speaks of his instability. He painted it while in an asylum. It has always felt disturbing to me.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 01:30 AM
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Originally posted by HallamFoe
Well, he was a heavy absinthe drinker, and absinthe at the time had hallucenogenic properties in it. which would contribute a lot to his interperation of his subject matter.

If you compare his early work from when he lived in Neunen to the work he did in Paris, you can see a huge difference in style. I'd put it all down to his substance abuse and mental illness.

Starry Night is a beautiful painting, but like you said the deeper you look the darker it gets. Maybe Van Gogh at the time felt like the whole world was crashing in on him like the tidal waves you have described. The tree shaped like fire maybe subconciously symbolises his anger and resentment about the family, friends and lover's who had rejected him over the years.

It's open for debate really. That's what I love about art, you get so much out of it. It might mean something completely different everytime you look at it.

S&f
edit on 22-1-2012 by HallamFoe because: (no reason given)


+1 on this post. I agree wholeheartedly with almost everything said. Bear in mind that this image was painted from the asylum in which Van Gogh was situated at the time, from his bedroom _ Don't for a second think that the asylum was a beautiful place.

What you have in Starry Night is a mix of the plaintive longing for freedom combined with the crushing weight of mental illness and despair. It's an incredible piece of work, and certainly evocative.

I think that's what makes it so unique (and what makes it my favourite painting) - you have a piece of artwork that leaves a truly indelible impression... because it is both at once so utterly beautiful and yet so dark and twisted and surreal. So full of light, and yet... it's utter darkness.

incredible stuff.





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