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Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

January 5, 2010

Almost anyone who sees the ‘Starry Night’ painting knows it is a Van Gogh creation.  ‘Starry Night’ is not only the most popular painting ever made by Van Gogh, but it is also one of the world’s most notable masterpieces.  It is this painting that gave the artist worldwide recognition, though he never lived to enjoy it.  Van Gogh succeeded in selling just one painting when he was alive (‘The Red Vineyard’), but after his death his fame grew and he became considered as one of the world’s best painters.  He is deemed as the greatest Dutch painter after Rembrandt van Rijn.


‘Starry Night’ is known all over the world not only because of its popularity but also because of its influence.  This particular painting of Van Gogh has inspired poetry, fiction, songs (the most famous of which is Don McLean’s ‘Starry, Starry Night’) and CD-ROMs.  The image has also been used in countless posters and products, making Van Gogh’s painting almost ubiquitous.


Completed in June 1889, ‘Starry Night’ was created by Van Gogh in the mental asylum in Saint Remy de Provence, Bouches-du-Rh, France.  The painting was finished a little over a year before Van Gogh killed himself at the age of 37.  The Dutch artist suffered from depression, and it was his mental instability that caused his demise.  When he admitted himself in the psychiatric center at Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole, he often painted in the garden, which became his favorite subject.  Unfortunately, Van Gogh was not able to paint his famous painting outdoors as he wanted.  Because of the erratic behavior caused by his mental condition, he was forced to stay indoors.  Van Gogh had painted ‘Starry Night’ from just his memory, which is probably why the painting is the most emotionally powerful among all of his works during this period.


People would be surprised to know that “Starry Night’ is not the only painting of the night sky that Van Gogh ever created. ‘Starry Night Over The Rhone’ was first.  However, it was his second depiction of the starry night that cemented his status as one of art’s best figures.


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