Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Starry Night

Written By Avni Yadav (Grade 8)

As I sat down to ponder upon the feather in Vincent Van Gogh’s cap, I could not help but feel invigorated by the swirls of colour dancing across the surface of the canvas. It was as if he had captured in Starry Night a moment of unadulterated magic and frozen it in time for all of us to see. Such is the beauty of art – to transport us to another world with merely a few brushstrokes. Let us climb aboard the ship that is perhaps one of Van Gogh’s most paramount paintings, and try not to pitch into the sea of madness and precariousness that plagued his mind during his respite at the Saint–Paul asylum in Saint–Remy.

Gazing upon this enthralling work of art, you are immediately drawn into the night sky, where a crescent moon shines iridescently amidst a blanket of ultramarine and the whirling hues of a faint goldenrod. The stars in the wide open sky twinkle and crackle with elation as they roam the cosmos. The delicate brushstrokes exude a kind of decadence mastered over years of untamed creativity and unwavering determination, concocting a tapestry of precision and intricacy. The towering spire condescendingly overlooks the scattering of settlements below. This magnum opus of an art piece created by Dutch Vincent Van Gogh in June 1889 animates the view from the window of his room in the asylum. This seemingly unambiguous work of art portrays a much deeper interpretation than meets the eye.

The Starry Night depicts the Dutch Post-Impressionist’s deteriorating mental stability. The prussian tints of blue used are synonymous with his declining mental well-being. The turbulent winds may also indicate his tumultuous state of mind. Albeit Van Gogh painted this masterpiece in poor soundness of mind, he also splattered this painting with his feelings of solitude, alienation, and the recognition he thought to achieve in his life, none of which necessarily point towards insanity. Although The Starry Night is engraved in the minds of many as an articulation of the artist’s failing mental faculties, many take it as an expression of hope, representing the certitude that even when the sky is at its darkest, light emanating from the moon and stars will still snake its way into our room by the window, filling our hearts and minds more than any meal ever could. Similarly, in the brushstroke that is our life, we find beauty and truth, deformity and lies. Each of us experiences life differently because while our circumstances might be similar, the hand holding the paintbrush is not.

Featured Image Courtesy – Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries


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