Starry, Starry Night “Starry, starry night, paint your palette blue and grey, look out on a summer's day, with eyes that know the darkness in my soul. ” (Don MacLean) I chose to write about the painting, The Starry Night by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh painted the view outside his sanitarium room window located in southern France at night. But Van Gogh painted it from memory during the day. I feel that this painting has Asymmetrical Balance. From our handouts – “In this case balance is achieved with dissimilar objects that have equal visual weight or equal eye attraction. The Starry Night is a picture of the night sky with stars and trees and the moon. We read that Nature is not symmetrical. Even the stars are different sizes and give off different light. “Shape and Texture also attracts our attention and is used in Asymmetrical Balance. ” The Rhythm of this painting appears to be Legato Rhythm. The handout says “some rhythms are called legato, meaning connecting and slowing. This work gives a feeling of relaxing and calm. ” The stars make up most of the painting – they are different in brightness, along with the moon.
When we look at the stars, they are all yellow and round, vary in size and placement, and they have halo like light encircling them. “Sketch the trees and the daffodils, Catch the breeze and the winter chills. ” (DL) The breeze and the winter chills give off a Legato rhythm flowing with the swirling wind and the round brush strokes throughout the painting. The Lines in this painting show movement in the sky as well as distance. The cypress tree in front is a thicker stroke as to the trees and bushes in the background.
The lines that make up the buildings get thinner as your eye looks further and deeper into the painting. The vertical lines such as the green cypress tree and church tower softly break up the composition, but keep your eyes moving around them. Van Gogh used “dot-to-dot” lines to depict the wind movement and accentuate the light the stars and moon were giving off. I read that Van Gogh was concerned with the unity of his paintings. In Starry Night, the swirling brush strokes and use of cool colors seems to unify the pieces of the painting and create the feeling that everything belongs together.
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Van Gogh used a painting technique called impasto. This is a thick application of paint that makes no attempt to look smooth. This technique is textured, and shows off brush and palette knife marks. “Colors changing hue, morning fields of amber grain,” as much as I don’t want to disagree with Don McLean, but a color cannot change a hue, it is in fact the other way around. Van Gogh chose vibrant hues such as violet, blue, yellow, and green. Since the painting is bright stars and moons in the dead of the night, shows how he used the Value of the colors.
He also used white and yellow to create a spiral effect and draws attention to the sky. The Tint was this use of white around the stars to make them appear to light up the town even in the dark of night where he uses Shade to darken the rest of the sky. The buildings in the middle of the painting are small blocks of different yellows, oranges, and greens with a dash of red to the left of the church. The dominant color of blue is balanced by the orange of the night sky. He used intensity to make the stars light up the dark blue sky.
Van Gogh chose to paint with an analogous color scheme, meaning he stayed close to a certain color, blue in this case, on the color wheel, and ventured left and right to the violets and greens. He painted with rich colors of the night and uses these colors to suggest feeling and emotion. Emotion that he truly had which Don McLean let the world know with his chorus in his song, Vincent. “For they could not love you, but still your love was true. And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry, starry night. You took your life as lovers often do. But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. ”
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