“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” – a very famous quote by Thomas Merton says all about art. I think art is not just a creative skill or imagination, but it is what comes from your soul. What you can make other people see, is what we call the language of art.
Starry Night by Van Gogh is one of the famous piece of arts. One quote by him, “the emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech” says so many things about Van Gogh. He was not just an artist, he knew how to put his emotions into words with the strokes of his brush.
Van Gogh came from an upper middle-class family and had the potentials to change his life but everyone knows how he had suffered with mental health issues throughout his life. In winter 1888 after a fight with a friend and mutilation of his ear Van Gogh gave up himself to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole lunatic asylum. This was the place where he came to see the scenic beauties we now see in Starry Night.
While the painters in the mid-nineteenth century painted mostly photographic and realistic landscapes and portraits, Van Gogh used more exaggerated, distinctive brushstroke and thick application of paint that was not appreciated in his time but was obviously far ahead of their time and paved the way for Expressionism.
Critics of that time thought that Van Gogh’s signature style- characterized by bright and heavy brushstrokes, was unkempt, rude and childish. These critics had decided that Van Gogh was crazy and his paintings, that were not photographic and realistic, were not as good as the other contemporaries. However, the vivid style chosen by him was unusual and to portray this night scene he used lines instead of silhouettes that was a more obvious choice. Even he himself called it “exaggerated” and was aware it to be somewhat surreal and stylized.
One might say that The Starry Night is so popular because stars make you dream. The reason I like Starry night is because Van Gogh visualized in this painting how he felt inside and revealed his personal impressions. The struggling feelings of isolation, insanity and depreciation are clear in Starry Night. Although the real reason is not the negative emotions that initially inspired the artwork, but the bright lights of the stars that conveys the strong feeling of hope.
Starry Night gives me hope that I am not alone and Van Gogh teaches me to dream through his art. Van Gogh struggled to maintain his agony and depicted that in his paintings because he had dreams in his eyes and hopes in his heart.
Till the end, he hoped to be appreciated; he hoped to be somewhere he wanted to be. He makes me hope to become appreciated too, and to be different from all others because in this world, if you want to leave a mark, you have to be unique.