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Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist, who produced a great impact on the artistic world of the twentieth century and has been so much renowned and honored as an artist. While his life was full of contradictions and things that are difficult to understand, his artistic works are well-known for their highly recognizable style, which has been so much admired by people.
Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 and died in the age of 37 from a gun-shot wound on July 29, 1890. Vincent began to draw in his childhood but did not begin painting until he reached his late twenties. Van Gogh’s father was a minister, several of his relatives were art dealers and his father’s uncle was a successful sculptor. That surrounding produced an effect on young Vincent and his artistic life.
Van Gogh worked as an art dealer in his early adulthood, traveling to various European cities. In 1976, he moved to England to work in a small boarding school. That did not last long and Van Gogh's next vocation was missionary work in a mining region in Belgium. In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris where he was influenced by the art of the French Impressionists. Meanwhile, his mental health deteriorated and he suffered one crisis after another. He shot himself with a revolver (Vincent Van Gogh. Biography) on July 27, 1890 and died 29 hours after that.
Van Gogh left the world the legacy of more than 2,100 works which included oil paintings, water colors, drawings, sketches and prints.
Van Gogh’s art
Vincent Van Gogh’s art is, first of all, known for the use of color. One year before his death he wrote to his brother Theo that there would be “a great painter of the future” who would know how to use color like no one else (Vincent van Gogh Paintings). Little he knew that he predicted that his paintings, unknown and unpopular then, would be greatly appreciated in the future. Besides, Van Gogh’ drawings are known for having been painted with much detail. In one of his letters, he wrote to his brother that “there are two ways of thinking about painting, how not to do it and how to do it: how to do it - with much drawing and little color; how not to do it - with much color and little drawing (Vincent van Gogh Paintings).
Van Gogh painted this picture in 1889, just one year before his death (Vincent van Gogh: Starry Night). The artist was at the peak of his achievements. Starry Night is one of the most well-known paintings and has been the most replicated. It depicts the night sky covered with clouds and with stars ablaze with their light. The colors seem to be exaggerated, however spectators feel comfortable with them.
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Below the sky, there lies a small town. The center of this section is occupied by a church steeple, which dominates it. The image of the town is depicted in soft darker colors that evoke good childhood memories. The left part of the painting is occupied by a dark image, produced in dark colors. It is believed to be a leafy bush that grows on a mountain slope, where the whole scene is seen from.
The whole painting is permeated with peace and serenity despite domination of dark colors. The artist skillfully used bright colors to underline the objects and make the whole painting alive.
Effect of the painting
The painting is indeed captivating. It draws attention due to artistic use of colors that produces breathtaking scenery. The more spectators look at the picture the more involved they feel. After a while, one begins to discover wonderful elements, hidden in the image. Colors come alive and the whole scenery appears to be in motion due to skillful depicting of the scene.
One can distinguish elements, which were symbolic for Van Gogh and actually reflected the stages of his life. The peaceful town lies in the very back – a forgotten image of peaceful and happy childhood. The church is in its center but a bit far off - an inspiring but unsuccessful attempt of ministry. The steeple is high but it is overshadowed by a dark bush in the front – the dark part of Van Gogh’s life that was about to end. And above all, the starry sky – reflecting the hope that he still had and that was somewhat unreachable.
It is absolutely wonderful to examine the artistic life and the art of such distinguished artists like Vincent Van Gogh. Although their life remains a mystery to a larger degree and no one can understand the depth of emotions that they had and tried to express, their works have been a great inspirations to millions of people.