“The Starry Night”

Art A Fact

Vincent van Gogh, “The Starry Night” 1889. Oil on canvas.

Next to the Mona Lisa this may just be the most famous painting in the world. I know I just did a van Gogh – but this one is worth the exploration I think. My students tell me all the time when I ask them what kind of art they like – “Well I love Starry Night!” But why? Because its pretty? Because its famous? Most of us are familiar with the sad story of van Gogh’s life, and in fact, this scene was painted during his voluntary stay at Saint Remy, a sanitarium in southern France. I think this is all about opposing forces. We have a separation between the heavens and the earth, therefore a distinction between divinity and humanity, dreams and reality. Quite appropriate for a man who lived in the spaces in-between. The steeple and the…

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