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Van Gogh’s Moon


It’s Child’s Play

The moon is from Van Gogh’s famous painting, “Starry Night.”

"Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh, (1889)

[Excerpt from Wikipedia, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night )]

The Starry Night (Dutch: De sterrennacht) is a painting by Dutchpost-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. The painting depicts the view outside his sanitarium room window at night, although it was painted from memory during the day. Since 1941 it has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Reproduced often, the painting is widely hailed as his magnum opus (greatest work).

[Excerpt from “vangoghgallery.com”, ( http://www.vangoghgallery.com/painting/starryindex.html )]

One may begin to ask what features within the painting are responsible for its ever growing popularity. There are actually several main aspects that intrigue those who view this image, and each factor affects each individual differently. The aspects will be described below:

  • 1. There is the night sky filled with swirling clouds, stars ablaze with their own luminescence, and a bright crescent moon. Although the features are exaggerated, this is a scene we can all relate to, and also one that most individuals feel comfortable and at ease with. This sky keeps the viewer’s eyes moving about the painting, following the curves and creating a visual dot to dot with the stars. This movement keeps the onlooker involved in the painting while the other factors take hold.
  • 2. Below the rolling hills of the horizon lies a small town. There is a peaceful essence flowing from the structures. Perhaps the cool dark colors and the fiery windows spark memories of our own warm childhood years filled with imagination of what exists in the night and dark starry skies. The center point of the town is the tall steeple of the church, reigning largely over the smaller buildings. This steeple casts down a sense of stability onto the town, and also creates a sense of size and seclusion.
  • 3. To the left of the painting there is a massive dark structure that develops an even greater sense of size and isolation. This structure is magnificent when compared to the scale of other objects in the painting. The curving lines mirror that of the sky and create the sensation of depth in the painting. This structure also allows the viewer to interpret what it is. From a mountain to a leafy bush, the analysis of this formation is wide and full of variety.

"Self-Portrait" , van Gogh, (1889)

[Excerpt from “vangoghgallery.com”, ( http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/overview.html )]

Vincent van Gogh: Overview

Van Gogh’s life in under 500 words
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1890
Country : Netherlands

Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty. The works of his early Dutch period are somber-toned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is “The Potato Eaters” (1885). In that year van Gogh went to Antwerp where he discovered the works of Rubens and purchased many Japanese prints.

In 1886 he went to Paris to join his brother Théo, the manager of Goupil’s gallery. In Paris, van Gogh studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin, and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists. His nervous temperament made him a difficult companion and night-long discussions combined with painting all day undermined his health. He decided to go south to Arles where he hoped his friends would join him and help found a school of art. Gauguin did join him but with disastrous results. Near the end of 1888, an incident led Gauguin to ultimately leave Arles. Van Gogh pursued him with an open razor, was stopped by Gauguin, but ended up cutting a portion of his own ear lobe off. Van Gogh then began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.

In May of 1890, he seemed much better and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later he was dead, having shot himself “for the good of all.” During his brief career he had sold one painting. Van Gogh’s finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature.

This clip is from the British sci-fi show about the traveling humanoid alien, “Dr. Who.” This episode is called “Vincent and the Doctor.” In this episode the Doctor and Amy (his traveling companion) befriend Vincent van Gogh.  In the clip Amy believes if they show Vincent the impact he had on the world of art and how much he is appreciated in the future, she can stop him from committing suicide later in history. Yes, this does involves bringing Vincent to the future.

This is my favorite Dr. Who episode for many reasons. It is such a moving and beautiful episode. There is also a starry night scene, where you see the sky through Vincent’s eyes, that is equally as moving and beautiful as this next moment.

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One response to “Van Gogh’s Moon

  1. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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