A Visual Art Observation Essay

Starry Night of Vincent Van Gogh is one interesting work of art to analyse. It is very striking due to its heavy brush strokes and luminous colours. The seemingly endless curves and swirls can entice you into exploring the piece more intently. Visually, it is a mystical amalgamation of black and blue. Hence, conveying an apparent picture of a town at night time. A brightly lit quarter moon settles at the top right corner of the canvas. The yellowness of it somewhat literally borrows the sun’s colour.

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Its luminescence, together with eleven stars draped at the upper half of the canvas, is rather too gleaming. The moon and stars appeared strangely luminous with bright colours encircling them. The lower right quadrant of the painting comprises the landscape of a silent town where the dark coloured roofs and trees are visible. Furthermore, on the lower left quadrant shows a huge cypress bush which seemed too vertically stiff against the horizontal waves of the night sky.

Apparently, the artist used horizontal contours in the majority of the piece.

The dotted lines formed the swirls and circles in the painting. The artist strokes are remarkable because the appeared to be made up of short lines of various colours filed together to create a vibrant and magnificent imagery of a quiet town. Every object in the paintings has consistent shapes and colour composition. The stars have a tiny red orange dot on the middle to prove its size despite its flaring surround. The mountains have black outlines to present its edges and blue-coloured soil.

Likewise, the houses are also outlined in black but in their case, the surfaces vary in colours like brown, green, light blue, violet, orange and other dark shades. The trees are presented in curves in dark tones of green, blue and black. The dark bushes, however, is coloured too darkly with brown, green and black. Van Gogh has truly revealed a part of his personality and emotional status in Starry Night. The extreme use of curves and swirls indicated his uncommon vision of the world. It depicts his mental state of schizophrenia and his desire to end his life.

The heavy strokes denote the depression that he was currently encountering. The bushes which appeared out of place in the painting pointed directly towards the heavens show his dark thoughts on ending his life. It gives the impression of death as it is formed with dark shades and rigorously designed to separate it from the world—same with the feelings of Van Gogh. It is also noticeable in his work that it is full opposites; starting from the straight lines to curved lines; the brightness of the stars to the darkness of the colours used; the peaceful town to the raging night sky.

Who could have thought that such opposite elements could create a magnificent work of art? The painting is more than just a symbolic image of the artist’s thoughts. It is his reality which is conjured by his passion with art. The numerous curves and swirls portray his desperation to be free considering that he painted the Starry Night while he was inside a mental asylum. Vincent Van Gogh is indeed a “mad genius” as admirers would often label him (Boime, 2008, p. 1).

The Starry Night contains symbolisms that are meticulously encrypted by an art genius like Van Gogh. No wonder it is one of the most attention-grabbing paintings today. Its vibrant elements and the unmistakable passion expressed through it by the artist seduce its audience in an exaggerated world of a man who only sold one painting in his lifetime.


Boime, A. (2008). Revelation of Modernism: Responses to Cultural Crises in Fin-de-Siecle Painting. Missouri: University of Missouri Press

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