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Dare I Say the Word?

"I have a terrible need of -- dare I say the word? -- religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars..." -- Vincent van Gogh, Arles, 1888

I'M JUST AN OCCASIONAL ART-LOVER, ever since i took an Introduction to Art module during U days. Hope to share views and insights on favorite artists, artworks, and the art itself here. One of my favorite art pieces is Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night which has been eulogised in a song entitled Vincent.

Starry Night -- painting image from vangoghgallery.com


Van Gogh (1853-1890) was a great genius, utterly ignored during his lifetime. He created hundreds of brilliant paintings; only one was sold then. Killed himself at 37.

Starry Night was painted while Vincent was in the asylum at Saint-Remy and his behaviour was very erratic at the time, due to the severity of his attacks. As J. van der Wolk put it, "[Van Gogh] wanted to paint a starry night as an example of working from the imagination, which could add to the value of a painting: 'we may succeed in creating a more exciting and comforting nature than we can discern with a single glimpse of reality', he wrote."

And so he did. Today, we have exciting new visions of nightscapes. Stars, instead of being little static twinkling lights, turned into great rolling balls of fire. A sleepy townscape actually became startling beautiful and yet gently mesmerizing ... thanks to Van Gogh.

One problem Van Gogh had was that his style of painting was part of a new art revolution in the 1870's, called Post-Impressionism. This new art celebrated modern everyday life in vibrant colors and using bigger, visible brushstrokes. By contrast, earlier European art depicted grand dramatic scenes from history, myth, and religion; and artists painted everything in sharp detail with hardly visible brushstrokes and subdued colors. Resistance to change was naturally great. (More commentary can be found at vangoghgallery.com.)

(Imported from a forum and edited.)


by tree#138680 on Mon Apr 07 03 1:30 am | profile

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