Advanced Placement art History Exam

A Modern and Contemporary letras study set for test-takers, teachers, and lifelong learner alike.

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Modern Landscapes

Discover groundbreaking approaches in early contemporary landscape paintings.

The Starry Night

Vincent andar Gogh(Dutch, 1853–1890)

1889. Oil ~ above canvas, 29 x 36 1/4" (73.7 x 92.1 cm)


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Vincent andar Gogh: Emotion, Vision, and A Singular Style

Mention Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) y one of los first things likely to come to many people’s minds is ns fact that he reduced off his own ear. This distinguishable act, committed in 1888, marked los beginning of ns depression the would pester him until the fin of his life. But to know ir Gogh is to acquire past ns caricature of ns tortured, misunderstood artist and to end up being acquainted instead with los hardworking, deep religious, y difficult man. Van Gogh found his location in art and produced emotional, visually arresting paintings gastos generales the course of uno career the lasted only uno decade.

Largely self-taught, andar Gogh produced more than 2,000 oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, y sketches, which came to be in need only delaware his death. He likewise wrote scores of letters, especially to his brothers Theo, in which the worked el fin his thoughts about art. “Always proceed walking a lot y loving nature, because that that’s the real way to discover to understand arte better and better,” he created in 1874. “Painters understand nature y love it, y teach us to see.”1

It was nature, y the world living very closely to it, that very first stirred ir Gogh’s creative inclinations. In this he was no alone. Landscapes remained a extendido subject in late-nineteenth-century art. Driven in component by your dissatisfaction with ns modern city, numerous artists sought fuera places the same, similar thing earthly paradises, where they can observe nature firsthand, feeding its psychological y spiritual resonances right into their work. Andar Gogh was an especially taken with los peasants he saw working los countryside; his early on compositions featured portraits of netherlands peasants y rural landscapes, rendered in dark, moody tones.

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In 1886, ir Gogh moved to Paris, where he encountered los works of ns Impressionists y Neo-Impressionists, y the Pointillist compositions that Georges Seurat. Inspired by these artists’ harmonious corresponding of colors, shorter brushstrokes, and liberal use of paint, that brightened his very own palette and loosened his brushwork, emphasizing ns physical application of paint on los canvas. Los style he arisen in Paris y carried v to the fin of his life ended up being known as Post-Impressionism, a term encompassing functions made by artists linked by their attention in expressing their emotional and psychological responses to ns world through bold colors and expressive, often symbolic images. In a letter to his sister Willemien, poignant upon the mind y temperament of artists, van Gogh when wrote the he to be “very perceptible to color y its específico language, its effects of complementaries, contrasts, harmony.”2

By 1888, ir Gogh had actually returned to ns French countryside, where he would remain until his death. There, close once again to ns peasants who had actually inspired him at an early stage on, he focused on héctor landscapes, portraits (of himself and others), residential interiors, y still lifes lleno of emplea symbolism.

Observation y Imagination in los Starry Night (1889)

“This morning me gustaría saw the countryside representar my home window a largo time prior to sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, i m sorry looked an extremely big,” wrote ir Gogh come his brother Theo, relenten his motivation for among his best-known paintings, los Starry Night (1889).3 los window to which he refers was in ns Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy, in southern France, where he seek respite from his emotional experiencing while continuing to make art.

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This mid-scale, oil-on-canvas jadeo is conquered by uno moon- and star-filled night sky. The takes up three-quarters of the picture plane and shows up turbulent, also agitated, con intensely swirling patterns that seem to roll across the surface favor waves. The is pocked con bright orbs—including the creciente moon to los far right, and Venus, ns morning star, to ns left the center—surrounded by concentric one of radiant white and yellow light.

Beneath this expressive sky sits ns hushed village of humble homes surrounding a church, whose steeple rises sharply above los undulating blue-black mountains in los background. Un cypress tree sits at ns foreground the this night scene. Flame-like, that reaches nearly to los top leaf of the canvas, offer as uno visual link in between land and sky. Taken into consideration symbolically, ns cypress can be watched as uno bridge in between life, as represented by the earth, y death, as represented by los sky, commonly associated with heaven. Cypresses were also regarded together trees of the graveyard y mourning. “But the sight of ns stars always makes me dream,” andar Gogh as soon as wrote. “Why, i say to myself, should ns spots of iluminar in ns firmament it is in less obtainable to united state than los black clues on the mapa of France? just as us take los train to go to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to walk to a star.”4

The Starry Night is based on van Gogh’s straight observations and his imagination, memories, y emotions. Ns steeple of los church, for example, resembles those common in his indigenous Holland, not in France. Los whirling forms in los sky, on the other hand, enhance published huge observations the clouds the dust and gas recognized as nebulae. At when balanced and expressive, ns composition is structured through his ordered placement of the cypress, steeple, and central nebulae, if his countless brief brushstrokes y thickly used paint collection its surface ar in roiling motion. Such a combination of visualmente contrasts was crear by an artist who found beauty y interest in los night, which, for him, to be “much more alive and richly colored than the day.”5