Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” Painting Analysis

Subject: Art
Pages: 2
Words: 595
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


The painting for this assignment is Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. He painted this masterpiece in 1889 while locked up in an asylum found in Saint Remy (MoMA, n.d.). The painting got completed a year before he committed suicide, perhaps a side-effect of his mental illness. The Starry Night, his magnum opus, illustrates a small town under a beaming blue night sky full of glistening stars. Many assume the painting was the artist’s view from his window, but it was only an inspiration to him. The evidence lies in the small town which was not visible from his window. The work was virtually accessible through the Museum of Modern Arts in New York (MoMA, n.d.).

The Starry Night

Art Analysis

The artist’s choice of medium was painting with oil using short brushstrokes, which seem to make the painting come to life. Another consequence was Vincent van Gogh’s ability to apply the elements of color, light, use of line, space, and rhythm. When viewing the painting, it is easy to notice how the blue night sky covers about two-thirds of the upper part, which feels like a cool color. The use of shapes is clear in the crescent moon on the far right, the round stars, and the lively Venus close to the middle (MoMA, n.d.). The use of lines gets depicted by the slanted details of the mountains and the town’s rooftops. There is a clear dark and bright contrasts that make the tree in the foreground more vivid. Amid the rhythm created by the flow of wind in the middle of the painting, it is easy to spot a spire reaching upwards towards the sky.

The Starry Night is an excellent post-impressionist era masterpiece. It entails successfully applying vivid colors, geometric forms, unnatural color compositions, and distinctive texture from short brushstrokes. It was an era that paved the way for a modern radical movement labeled abstract expressionism (The Art Story, 2013). The symbolism makes it open to interpretation which reaffirms its post-expressionism foundation. Among all the pieces the artist was able to draw, this is the most iconic one today and has influenced many Western artists. When it got finished, it was not valuable, with records stating van Gogh sold one piece of art (Marder, 2018). The irony is that today, a Van Gogh can go for millions.

Art Evaluation

The Starry Night is a clever piece from the artist’s imagination. Vincent van Gogh was locked in an asylum of his own volition, and during his time in a study, he decided to put the innovative ideas in his head onto a canvas. It makes one criticize his painting expressively, given his state of mind at the time, especially with the amount of symbolism in the art. While remaining ravishingly beautiful to observe and capable of moving one into introspection, there was no social cause to it. The elements come together to depict personal feelings or emotions, and for all we know, it may have most likely been a foreshadowing of his looming death, which is clear in all the signs of darkness, the night sky, and the spire headed towards the sky.


The experience of handling this assignment was surreal, and visiting a museum could have topped many things this year. The observation and analysis of The Starry Night is an assignment that has allowed me to reflect on being hopeful about the future. The dark elements contrasted with very bright glimpses go to show that van Gogh attempted to communicate the need to see the bright side even when it all seems gloomy.


The Art Story. (2013). Post-impressionism. Web.

Marder, L. (2018). Did van Gogh really sell only one painting during his life? ThoughtCo. Web.

MoMA. (n.d.). Vincent van Gogh The Starry Night Saint Remy, June 1889. Web.