Vincent Van Gogh,the starry
Night. (1889). Analysis.
The picture was painted in June 1889 whereas since May 8th, 1889, Vincent decided itself to enter an asylum close to Saint-Rémy-of-Provence where there will remain one year.
Work with the first glance is extremely chaotic, all is moving. For this reason it was written that this fabric is the reflection of the pathological state of Vincent, the table is often described as morbid work who announces the suicide of the artist the following year, this interpretation always dominated. It is to forget that for Vincent “the madness is salutary” what it wishes with his volutes and its swirls it is us to aspire in nature as itself feels aspired because it perceives the force which resides at it. Nature is represented here as a celestial power where the man is absorbed physically: “up to the extreme point where the giddiness is inevitable”. To feel these forces it is necessary to go to seek at the bottom of oneself even this place where the human being feels completely implied in the universe, in nature and humanity. Vincent did it and felt it. Those which cannot do it do not feel it… and do not understand it.
The point of view known spectator is rather high it is at the level of the sky.The horizon is low, the village is downwards.
Van Gogh uses the tension fields to delimit pictorial space.
The village occupies the third the lower sky the 2 higher thirds.
A star and the point of meeting between two spirals is on the natural points of interest superiors.
There exist 3 plans staged the ones on the others. The cypress in the 1st plan, the village in the second plan, sky with the background.
The influence of the Japanese Masters of Ukiyo-e, the “floating world”, especially Hiroshige and Hokusai must be perfectly understood for seizing the manner of Van Gogh well. In these Japanese prints there are with-dishes of tons frank and generally arabesques or spirals closed again on themselves. The difference in scales between the subjects induces the space depth and the prints are generally built according to a staging of successive horizontal plans.
If Vincent were very influenced by the Japanese Masters of the floating world one should not be astonished by the spirals and the arabesques nor owing to the fact that the picture seems moving. The so intelligent thinkers before speaking about psychosis and mental disease transposed on the web would have to document themselves on Japanese painting…
Van Gogh uses sinuous lines, volutes, arabesques, spirals of rollings up and convolutions to aspire the glance of the spectator to deepest of nature. It reproduces what it knows of the Japanese Masters. But more especially it splits up its key. He is the friend of Camille Pissarro who well before his pointillist period splits up already the colors and of pointillist Paul Signac painter who uses in his works of the thousands of small keys to reproduce the colors. Vincent saw and knows their works. He adapts their style to his step because to start emotion nothing is more effective than a fragmented key.
This enormous central spiral has the effect of a wave of the ocean on work, it is divided into two parts and induces the whirling movement.
The church and its bell-tower are them also deformed and seem to move as all that is present on the web. It is not an aspiration of the artist towards beyond as that was said and written. How could this building which points towards the sky remain right with what it occurs around ?
This cypress in the foreground, fact of sinuous lines, seems tortured as if it were in full cyclone. In fact its branches reproduce on the ground what it occurs in the sky.
The moon in top on the right is the equivalent of a sun, like stars it produces light enormously but does not diffuse it.
The painter wants to aspire and not project.
The moon and the stars illuminate the sky but do not diffuse a light towards the ground. The light remains in the sky. To express the glare and the brightness of stars the painter splits his key in concentric circles. Whereas the picture is built on the rising diagonal from left to right an immense river of light the cross-piece to the bottom of the sky from right to left thus separating a very luminous sky from the landscape rather in the half-light. Couleur :
The sky and the landscape bathe in multiples tonality the blue ones which contrast with the gilded yellow of the moon and stars. Blue is a spiritual color which symbolizes the force of the spirit it is a cold color but higher which indicates serenity and temperance, the yellow is a hot color, clear merry and soft it contains a vivifying and penetrating solar heat. Thus if somebody saw in this picture a kind of morbid call, a dash towards death and the self-destruction it badly perceived the colors. Vincent wants to certainly to aspire us towards the infinite one that it feels through nature but this one is not negative on the contrary it is salutary and liberator.
Harmonie et Contraste.
The carryforward of the colors used to work out the picture on the chromatic circle indicates a harmony between cold colors and a contrast between complementary colors.
Similar pictures :
Vincent Van Gogh. The Starlight Night on the Rhone. (1888).
This picture of September 1888 is former to the Starlight night painted in the night of the from June 17th to 18th 1889. The table was painted in Arles on the edges of the Rhone. Work is rather of inspiration impressionist, very contrasted the blue ones of the sky and water are opposed to the yellows and gilded stars and the reflections of the lighting of the city in the river. Especially there are no spirals, only the reflections in water induce a natural deformation. By contemplating the table one immediately thinks of the fabric of Camille Pissarro the Montparnasse Boulevard seen of night.
Edward Munch. The Cry. (1893).
This picture of Munch is probably at the origin of all erroneous interpretations of the Starlight night of Van Gogh. There are also spirals and sinuous lines and work represents really a discomfort, an anguish, the fear of death or disease. The central figure is caught the head between the hands and seems to stop the ears to escape the cry from the life. The undulating lines express well the anguish and the anxiety and a true giddiness. It is an interior cry which the artist represents. The picture of Vincent is turned towards outside and nature at all towards the interior but by comparison the two fabrics were often associated. This caused a distorted perception of the Starlight night of Van Gogh.
The Beaudier Painter.
Vincent feels the force which lies in nature and he wants to aspire the spectator in work.For the Beaudier Painter the goal is the same one to share the emotion felt vis-a-vis nature but when Van Gogh aspires the Beaudier Painter and his Structurelliste movement project. The goal is the same one but the means different and are even reversed.