The Starry Night is an oil on canvas painting by impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. The whirling clouds in the sky create movement and directs the eye of the viewer around the painting. The fluid lines and curving shapes of the clouds create a flow throughout the sky, which takes up most of the painting. The dark colors seemingly represent an expression of emotion. Even the stars and the crescent moon, which are the light sources in the painting seem to be cut off in darkness. The stars and the moon radiate light that is immediately obstructed by the impending gloominess of the dark night sky. The moon and each star separately seem to be encapsulated in the orb of their own light, but work together to bring light to the whole sky in an attempt, I believe, to represent light and hope throughout the darkness.
The village seems quiet and unnoticing of the ominous dark that hovers over above it seemingly swirling out of control. The church steeple rises slightly above the town, but not far enough to obstruct or disturb the skyline. To the left of the painting is a large black tree. The fluid lines of the curvy tree matches the flow of the painting, but jets straight up, penetrating the night sky and breaking the consistency of the vertiginous clouds. Whereas the sky is horizontally fluid, the tree is vertically fluid and the two seem to meet in a burst of dark, dramatic emotion. T
he flame-like tree seemingly is the link between the calmness of the village and the looming sky. The painting can even be portrayed as kind of a fight between good and evil. Nature is storming and swirling while the town is calm and passive. The drama and power seem to be enveloping the town in darkness, but the town just sits quietly without knowing about anything that is going on around it.
The palette that Vincent Van Gogh uses is expressively powerful. In the sky, there is a mix of yellows, white, dark blues, and a mint color. The village is equally as dark as the sky, using dark blues and black. Here and there you can see the yellow and orange light peeking through the windows of the houses. Next to the church, there is the slightest hint of red on the roof of one of the houses. It seems as though a painting with so much dark color would be overtaken by the darkness, but The oranges and yellows undoubtedly balance the dominant dark blue in the painting.
The way the yellow fades into mint green in the sky harmonizes and blends the sky and stars together. The stars seem to be their own entity, however, the blending colors show how they are incorporated right back into the sky. Van Gogh really makes his stormy emotions come through in this painting and projects those emotions on to the viewer. Overall, this painting has an authentically favorable flow with it’s thick, continual brush strokes and the beautiful use of the palette of colors.