Van Gogh's Starry Night

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Painting has always been the reflection of a painter's vision, his own style and skills; all these factors were influenced by the epoch, events, country's traditions and an environment in which an artist created his masterpieces. Vincent Van Gogh's life was not long: he committed suicide at the age of 47, though he managed to depict truly unforgettable images in his paintings. He left school at th[...]
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Painting has always been the reflection of a painter's vision, his own style and skills; all these factors were influenced by the epoch, events, country's traditions and an environment in which an artist created his masterpieces. Vincent Van Gogh's life was not long: he committed suicide at the age of 47, though he managed to depict truly unforgettable images in his paintings. He left school at the age of fifteen, to pursue his dream of being an artist. In 1869, he got a position at the art dealers, Goupil and Co.

in The Hague, through his uncle, and worked with them until he was dismissed from the London office in 1873. He worked as a schoolmaster in England (1876), before training for the ministry at Amsterdam University (1877). After he failed to get a post in the Church, he went to live as an independent missionary among the Borinage miners. He then traveled to Paris (1886) and lived with his brother, Theo. (Artchive, 1). Van Gogh received some training from his cousin, but he was mostly a self-taught artist.

For about ten years Van Gogh created numerous paintings, however he sold only one picture during his lifetime. So, it's no wonder that he suffered a lot of hardships, including psychological problems. As a result, he voluntarily went into to a mental hospital, where he lived almost until his death in and where he created one of his best works - The Starry Night. There was no patron for this work of art, however he did paint a similar one for Emile Bernard, in 1888.

Even though Van Gogh only worked as an artist for 10 years, he managed to paint more than 600 paintings and 1000 drawings (Crispino, 2001). He was a strange person, with unusual behaviour and loneliness, but he was a great artist, a person who could love and reveal this love for people in his paintings. He broke off from the traditional romanticism and religious ideas', and turned to the depiction of various natural elements in an unusual manner.

Van Gogh scarcely thought of his Starry Night as an exceptional painting, but critics and artists consider it to be one of his most significant works. He later wrote, 'exaggerations in terms of composition' with lines 'warped as in old woodcuts'. Van Gogh was referring to the somewhat primitive, coarse illustrations in the household edition of the works of Dickens rather than to the carefully executed wood engravings in contemporary magazines (Artchive 2). The Starry Night has been the basis for poems, fiction and even for the famous song "Starry, Starry Night" by Don McLean.

In one part, the song describes it as: "Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain, Weathered faces lined in pain, Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand". In fact, astronomers evaluated this picture and found out that it greatly resembled the real sky, in addition, they were able to define that The Starry Night was created in the town Auvers-sur-Oise (France).
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