Meet the Masters
van GOGH, VINCENT (Go, Vin-sent Van) (1853-1890)
THE STARRY NIGHT MUSEUM OF MODERN ART NEW YORK CITY
Post -Impressionism Date: 1889 Size: 29" x 36 1/4" Medium: Oil on Canvas
ARTIST - Vincent van Gogh was Dutch by birth and the son of a Protestant pastor. He believed that he had a religious calling and for many years did missionary work in the slums and the mining districts of Belgium. He was sensitive and gentle by nature. He longed to be of humble service, but he failed in everything that he tried to do for these poor people. After repeated failures, he was exhausted and close to despair. Vincent van Gogh turned to art. He had a will to create and share. He was determined to give happiness by creating beauty.
Vincent van Gogh's life was full of heartbreak, loneliness and poverty. He sold almost none of his paintings and depended on his brother Theo completely for his support. Vincent van Gogh was known to have violent mood swings, thus making himself very unpopular and even mocked. It was in one of these violent moods that he cut off his own ear and sent it to an old girlfriend. For several years he was put in a mental institution where he continued painting. It wasn't until later in his life that it was discovered he suffered from epilepsy, which explained his moodiness. Vincent van Gogh died alone, when he was only 37 years old.
PRINT - The Starry Night is one of Vincent van Gogh's finest paintings. He liked to use bright colors, particularly blue and yellow. He was known for his thick, heavily applied paints. In many of van Gogh's paintings you can see the brush strokes in the paint. The strokes create a texture, a pattern, or an emotional impact that is so common in his works.
In The Starry Night Vincent van Gogh did not paint the sky as a calm dark blue background with small twinkling stars. He created a universe filled with whirling and exploding stars, full of movement and emotion. The wavy, curved cypress tree in the foreground is often found in van Gogh's paintings. His use of thick paint and brush strokes is seen in the tree as well as the sky. Vincent van Gogh said that he sought to give comfort and consolation in his painting. He once explained, "instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, I use color more arbitrarily so as to express myself forcibly."
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