Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night: Did You Know this Famous Work of Art Was Created in an Asylum for People with Mental Illness?

Vincent Van Gogh is, no wonder, one of the most iconic painters of all time and is often termed “the Redhead Madman” as people feared his behavior. However, despite deteriorating mental health and financial instability, Van Gogh was a true painting genius.

Vincent Van Gogh’s art career lasted ten years, but it was prolific – Van Gogh created as many as 900 paintings during his lifetime. Among these is “The Starry Night,” not only Vincent Van Gogh’s most iconic painting but also one of the most well-known paintings of all time.

In today’s article, we will discuss The Starry Night, its creation, and why it became one of the best creations. So if you are a fan of Van Gogh and want to know more about The Starry Night, this article is for you. Read on!

About The Starry Night

Starry Night Painted by Vincent Van Gogh

Created in June 1889, Starry Night is a timeless and magnificent painting by the very famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. In a moderately abstract landscape painting, Van Gogh portrayed an expressive night sky over a small hillside village. The painting is a dreamy interpretation of the night sky as seen from his asylum room in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

The most famous Vincent van Gogh artwork evokes the serenity and tranquillity of rural life by focusing on a small section of a large landscape. With nature’s wave-like patterns winding across the foreground and background, he creates a scene of movement using mostly complementary colors.

Today, the Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings and can be found gracing the walls of museums, and art galleries, printed on mugs, t-shirts, and even on walls of Facebook and Instagram handles; back then, Van Gogh was not happy with the piece. Van Gogh even believed that the painting was among his failed creations during his years in the asylum.

Created in the Asylum

The Starry Night is truly a work of art and is a must-have visual for any art lover out there. As mentioned above, the painting was made in a mental asylum outside Saint-Rémy in Provence. Originally supposed to be sent to a large public asylum in Marseille, the artist was somehow admitted to the asylum in Provence, where he spent the next year.

If the artist had been admitted to the larger asylum, we would probably not have seen this particular masterpiece by the artist. The Saint-Rémy asylum had only 41 patients, which allowed Vincent Van Gogh to be treated with utmost kindness and understanding.

Doctors at the Saint-Rémy quickly understood that the only way to save Van Gogh was to give him his freedom and space to create paintings. During his time in the asylum, Van Gogh was much more creative, and his work ethic was stronger than ever. While other patients in the asylum spent their nights screaming, Vincent would wake up the entire night and create artworks, mostly optimistic landscapes.

Van Gogh showed great consistency in painting while he was in the asylum. The artist finished over 150 paintings during his stay in the asylum, equating to about one painting every day. On 18th June 1889, Vincent Van Gogh finished Starry Night, which today has become a global phenomenon and is loved by almost every art lover.

The Road to Starry Night

Vincent Van Gogh was entirely a self-taught artist and had not even touched the painting brush until he was 27 – 10 years later, he was dead. It was in the last four years of his career that the Dutch maestro discovered and perfected the art style that we have known him.

Vincent observed art from all around the world to discover his very own art style, which later on laid the foundation of Starry Night. From Monet and Pissarro to younger generation artists, including Paul Signac and Émile Bernard – Van Gogh was exposed to all types of artists and their styles.

The composition of Starry Night also shares some resemblance to Japanese painter and printmaker The Great Wave. However, it is not just the swirling composition but also the rich blue tones that can be seen in both paintings.

As per Vincent Van Gogh’s letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh loved the countryside view from his window at the asylum, with nothing but the morning star. He was deeply enchanted by the view and was planning to portray it on canvas very soon; that is how the road to Starry Night was paved.

Why is The Starry Night So Popular?

One of the main reasons Starry Night has become so popular among critics and audiences is its swirling composition of the sky and melancholic blue palette. Composed of celestial swirls, stylized stars, and a radiating crescent moon, the painting is one of the most recognizable.

That’s not all; the painting features short brushstrokes with an artificial color palette and a focus on luminescence. It is this very treatment given by the artist that the painting is considered to be one of the greatest and most famous ever.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night is one of the most impressive paintings in world art. Over the years, the magnum opus has been in possession of multiple individuals. However, the painting has been at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1941.

Talking about the current popularity of the art, Starry Night today can be seen almost everywhere. From several museums to art replicas being sold at art galleries to t-shirts and coffee mugs, the Starry Night is everywhere.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.