Thursday, October 3, 2013


Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh is a Dutch Post-impressionist painter who is highly noted for his use of colour (1853-1890). When it comes to Van Gogh paintings, almost all of his works are famous outside the art historian circles and often referenced in the popular culture. However, the Starry Night is probably one of the paintings most of us must have seen somewhere at some point in time. It depicts the view from Van Gogh’s sanatorium window situated in Southern France. But why was Van Gogh not appreciated at the time he worked, or was he simply ahead of his time, such that he lived only for posterity?
In a letter to his brother, Van Gogh explained that when he painted this picture he did not make a reference to religion or romance, but to the pure country nature, purer than the suburbs and the bars of Paris. The Starry Night has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1941. This painting and the creative power of Van Gogh inspired Don McLean to write the song “Vincent” also known as “Starry, Starry Night” for its opening line.
It is recorded that the artist hardly sold any of his works during his life time and so did not make any financial success of his career. Could this have been the frustration that drove him to near insanity, and even leading him to slash off his ear? The irony of it all is that Van Gogh has sold so much and also at record breaking prices after his death, and even till this day. Could this not be seen as a mere mockery of this great artist, or is he really a creative genius?
By Morgan Nwanguma

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