The Most Magical Nights Of Van Gogh

Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh made this painting in 1889, 13 months before his death. He didn't paint it in front of the landscape, as it was his habit. He did it through his memories. And he did it from the Saint-Remy asylum (Provence).

Van Gogh painted this artwork with passion, with vigorous, even desperate brushstrokes. The moon and stars are surrounded by light glows. In the distance, the village, as submerged in a dream. This picture has some Japanese influence, as he felt a great admiration for that art.

He emphasized the mauve, yellow and purple colors. His euphoria can be sensed. He is the highest point of his happiness. Soon, he will fall in his deepest abyss. Since his desperation takes him, months later, to shoot himself in the chest.
His agony will last for 2 days. It's said that in his deathbed he didn't stop smoking.
Without a doubt, he wanted to leave. His time was gone. He was 37 years old.

Cafe Terrace at Night
Van Gogh depicts an elegant cafe-terrace in the on the "Place du Forum" in the very center of Arles (France).

Van Gogh was amazed by the night lights, both the artificial as well as the ones generated by the moon and the stars. In this artwork, there's no symbolism nor thematic depth, just the everyday life. This is an optimistic moment of his life.
He just paints a cafe in a city he likes, and feels satisfied.

He wrote to his sister Wilhelmina van Gogh this after painting this work:

"On the terrace there are small figures of people drinking. An immense yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, the facade, the side walk and even casts light on the paving stones of the road which take a pinkish violet tone. The gables of the houses, like a fading road below a blue sky studded with stars, are dark blue or violet with a green tree. Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colours itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot."

Starry Night Over The Rhone
Van Gogh writes to his brother Theo and tells him that he has a big need of going out by night and paint the stars. He tells him about this painting, and writes him: "The public will like this painting very much, because the main topic is poetic."

He depicts the night reflected in the waters of the Rhone, and the figure of two lovers. They are in the foreground. But instead of choosing two young lovers, he chooses a couple of old people. This way he symbolizes the eternal love, deep and calm: two lovers taking shelter on each other in the cold night.

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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Luciano Bove said...

hi, I like your blog !

Emma Alvarez said...

I love to hear that, :). Come back soon.

Staci Rose said...

I was actually lucky enough to see one of his pieces at a museum in Boston. The problem with photographing his art is that you don't actually get an appreciation for the incredible texture of the piece - the abundant amount of paint he uses to achieve that texture. Truly, amazingly striking!

Great post! :)

Emma Alvarez said...

Staci, all pieces of van Gogh are mysterious, but the nights of van Gogh are the most beautiful an incredible pieces of the artist.

Cultural Blogs said...

Great post. Personally I think starry night is one of his best works of art. It talks to me and I enjoy having a print of it.

Emma Alvarez said...

Starry night has so much strength and intense colors, really a great artwork.

shadowsgrey said...

It's been a while, but if you can dig it up, Charlie Rose (the PBS talk show host) had a fascinating hour long interview with the curator of... the Van Gogh museum, I believe it was, in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, I think). This was at the time when an exhibit featuring the museum's works was either in DC or New York, and they held the interview in the galleries, after hours.

That would have been for PBS's "The Charlie Rose Show". I think it would have been 5 - 7 years ago. Sorry not to have more detail on the show, but I'm short of time and can't go looking for it myself right now.

shadowsgrey said...

Ah, no. Actually, below is the one I meant. Unfortunately, I can't watch it (or any video) from work, and my home connection is too slow. But I recall being really taken with and informed by the interview.


An hour with John Leighton about Van Gogh

An hour conversation with art historian and Van Gogh museum director John Leighton about the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. He takes Charlie on a tour of the National Art Gallery in Washington and discusses Van Gogh's famous paintings, their cultural significance and their artistic legacy and importance.

Emma Alvarez said...

If you really want to know more about Van Gogh you should read his letters to his brother Theo.

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