Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Date: June 1889
Genre: Landscape; Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 73.7 x 92.1 cm
Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York
This oil on canvas by post-impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh, is a representation of the view just before sunrise from his window with a merged in depiction of an idealized village. In it’s literal context, the painting describes Van Gogh’s perception of the space around him, which for him was fantastical, yet, physical.
The elements in the work of art like the sun, stars, sky and wind all exist individually and are by themselves narrating a story, but, together they describe the homogeneity of what makes the space within that time, which in this case, is dawn.
The minimal use of color variation and consistant brush strokes in the piece of art led me to evaluate the artwork as a whole before even observing the individual elements within the painting.
Time is a concept, the passage of which, is extremely subjective. Hours could pass in an instant and that same instant could stretch itself to feel like hours. The passage of time depends completely on how engaging the space is in which the time is spent.
The strokes in the painting, to me, are an expression of time lapses and derivatively, it’s passage. The view of the sky just before sunrise as mesmerizing as it is, is never motionless. Every second of every minute, the colors in the sky change shades as the sun rises. The variation in the colors is only a given few, but their tints and shades make the sky look complete as it continuously changes color, form and motion.
The painting depicts, at the same time, two states of the sky. The brush strokes make it seem motionless, yet, the passage of time is evident. It is this passage of time, within a space, that creates a memory, the memory created by Van Gogh before and during creating the Starry Night.