“Starry” Van Gogh Visit

I was recently able to get to the Museum of Modern Art, NYC and visit one of my favorite paintings again.

“Starry Night”, makes me smile, makes me want to get up close. I swear that the swirling stars are infused with some sort of electrical current to make them look like they are about to fling themselves off the canvas. I expect to hear a sizzle when I lean in.

I think Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) was able to recreate “night” brilliantly – no pun intended. Fortunately for us, he did a lot of paintings and so many of his landscapes show his treatment of evening light.

According to a museum catalog, he “attempted the paradoxical task of representing night by light. His procedure followed the trend set by the Impressionists of “translating” visual light effects with various color combinations. At the same time, this concern was grafted onto Van Gogh’s desire to interweave the visual and the metaphorical in order to produce fresh and deeply original works of art”.

(Just an aside – Had a conversation with my brother, an artist, speculating about what would have been the outcome if Van Gogh had taken his medication consistently, would he have “seen” things the way he did? I assume that he painted what he “saw” – exploding stars, riotous color and all. If he were sedated, would his visions have been different? I don’t know.)

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