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Van Gogh And The Colors Of The Night - Isbn:9780870707377

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  • Book Title: Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night
  • ISBN 13: 9780870707377
  • ISBN 10: 087070737X
  • Author: Vincent van Gogh, Sjraar van Heugten, Joachim Pissarro, Chris Stolwijk
  • Category: Artists
  • Category (general): Artists
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art
  • Format & Number of pages: 160 pages, book
  • Synopsis: He made a point of emphasizing to Boch that it was painted on location at night, as were The Night Cafe and Terrace of a Cafe at Night (Place du Forum).17 This time, Van Gogh moved even further outdoors, setting up his easel on the ...

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Van Gogh and the Colours of the Night, review

Van Gogh and the Colours of the Night, review

Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night is one of the first pictures the visitor sees in New York's Museum of Modern Art, its placement proclaiming its status as a forerunner of both the Fauve and Expressionist movements in 20th-century art.

The exact opposite is the case in Van Gogh and the Colours of the Night, the show about Vincent's twilight and nocturnal scenes that opens at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on Friday.

Hung at the end wall of the last gallery, Starry Night feels like a summation, as though the whole exhibition has been building up to the climactic moment when we catch our first glimpse of it hanging in the distance.

It is as though everything we've seen so far – the oil paintings, drawings, and letters by Vincent juxtaposed with canvases by his predecessors and contemporaries – is there solely to help us understand this strange, hypnotic masterpiece.

Only it can't be understood. No matter how well you know it or how hard you try to see it within the context of Van Gogh's art and life, one reason why it has become so famous is that it defies easy explanation or analysis.

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That doesn't mean you can't get closer to the sources of Van Gogh's inspiration by looking at the artists he looked at, or that you shouldn't take into account his religious beliefs (or lack of them) and state of mind when he painted it.

But, after all that, I still have no idea whether Van Gogh intended the picture to be read as a pantheistic celebration of the natural world, an apocalyptic vision of a universe in chaos, or a bitter reflection on the indifference of nature to man and all his works. Not only is there nothing else quite like it within Van Gogh's own work, there is nothing else like it in art.

The show begins with the subdued landscapes Vincent painted in the mid-1880s under the influence of the Barbizon School, the group of plein air painters who are sometimes seen as the precursors to the Impressionists.

The Cottage of 1885 shows a peasant hovel in a nondescript landscape just as the last streaks of orange light are dying in the western sky. A peasant woman stands at the cottage door, her back to us, enveloped by the surrounding darkness.

Amid the low-keyed tonal range of muddy greys and greens, a mere fleck of orange paint at the window indicates a blazing hearth inside, and therefore warmth and safe lodging as shadows lengthen and night closes in.

Evening for Van Gogh is a time of peace when the day's work is done, and families gather together indoors, secure against the elements. It was from the Barbizon painter Jean François Millet that Van Gogh learned how scenes of everyday life can be infused with dignity and therefore made sublime.

By the time of his move to Arles in 1888, Van Gogh had long abandoned social realism. But even when, under the combined influence of Gauguin and Japanese woodcuts, he lays on thick strong colour with broad, swirling brushstrokes, he keeps returning to his Barbizon roots.

Take, for example, his 1888 homage to one of Millet's best known images, The Sower. Where Millet's evening landscape is painted in naturalistic tones of brown and blue, Van Gogh paints the sun as a giant yellow disc setting in a chartreuse sky streaked with pink, while the mauve-tinted fields below are bordered with strips of apple green.

An even more striking difference is that whereas Millet's sower is a monumental figure, at one with nature and inseparable from the eternal cycle of the seasons, Van Gogh's is sinister, relegated to the lower left-hand corner by the strong diagonal of the withered tree trunk in the foreground.

Faceless, and cast in deep shadow, his sower is no longer heroic but evil – perhaps intended to be seen as the enemy who in the gospel parable comes by night to sow tares among the wheat.

And this ambiguity, I think, is part of the enigma that is Starry Night. Begun in mid June 1889, it shows the night sky over the village of Saint-Rémy, which lies nestled under a line of low-lying hills.

Once again, when he started the painting Van Gogh may have had a Barbizon painting in the back of his mind. In Millet's 1851 Starry Night, a midnight-blue sky is set spectacularly alight by a celestial display of shooting stars, pulsating lights, and the milky light of far-off constellations.

But Van Gogh's Starry Night transforms Millet's realistic night sky into a total fantasy conceived in terms of the stylisations you find in Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, and in particular Hokusai's famous woodblock Great Wave off Kanagawa.

In virtually every one of the hundreds of pictures Van Gogh painted in the last years of his life, every millimetre of the canvas is given equal visual weight in terms of the intensity of the colour, dynamic movement, and paint texture. The things of the earth (fields, trees, water and buildings) interpenetrate those of the sky (clouds, sun, moon and stars).

Look, for example, at Starry Night over the Rhone painted in Arles in 1888 and you'll see what I mean.

Here, the stars hang like chandeliers in the sky, but their light is reflected along with the lights of the city in the dark waters below, so that no visual distinction is drawn between earth and sky.

The single exception I know to this rule is Starry Night, which is divided horizontally into two zones that have almost nothing to do with each other.

Below, the neat grey-blue houses and village church belong to the real world. As so often in Van Gogh's work, the few lights still burning in the windows serve to reinforce the sense of refuge from the surrounding darkness.

But, in the sky above, all hell is breaking loose. Stars pulsating with aureoles of white, green or blue scroll from left to right across the canvas, balls of light that move as though on the swell of ocean waves towards the crescent moon in its halo of yellow at the right.

The rhythmic swirls of blue, black, green and white in the sky rhyme with the undulating line of the deep blue hills. Between hills and the sky a band of light green brushstrokes may represent mist rising from the earth after the heat of the day.

All – stars, air currents, hills and mist – become part of the picture's irresistible movement from left to right, ineffectually checked only by the tip of the church steeple just breaching the line of blue hills, and by the mass of deep green cypresses in the foreground that writhe upward like tongues of fire or hands clasped in prayer. All nature is in turmoil, but still the village sleeps unawares below.

Uniquely in Van Gogh's work, the relentless flow of the cosmos in Starry Night has nothing to do with what happens on earth.

Is this why Van Gogh and his brother Theo both disliked the picture? Of course, you have to be careful about interpreting the pictures Van Gogh painted in his last months in terms of depression, but for me there is a sense of resignation, of fatalism in the picture – that once seen can't be un-seen.

By all means go to Amsterdam to see the show, but be warned that with 50 or so works (including drawings and letters) it is relatively small and tightly focused. There are, to be sure, some spectacular loans, but if you are a Van Gogh enthusiast, you'll probably know the ones from New York, Paris, and Otterlo.

Source:

www.telegraph.co.uk

Articles

Color Design Blog

A new exhibit opening September 21st at MoMA explores the masterful colors of van Gogh and his love for painting the colors of the night:

Throughout his career, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) attempted the paradoxical task of representing night by light. His procedure followed the trend set by the Impressionists of "translating" visual light effects with various color combinations. At the same time, this concern was grafted onto Van Gogh's desire to interweave the visual and the metaphorical in order to produce fresh and deeply original works of art. These different artistic concerns found themselves powerfully bound together in Van Gogh's nocturnal and twilight paintings and drawings. This exhibition will present new insight into Van Gogh's depictions of night landscapes, interior scenes, and the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. Representing all periods of the artist's career, the exhibition will comprise over two dozen works of superlative quality—several of which have never been seen together, even though they were very clearly conceived with each other in mind.
- MoMA

From the New York Times:

Van Gogh discovered new colors everywhere, especially at night. Peripatetically, briefly yet fulsomely, this show explores his special relationship with darkness. It provides a view of the tenderness, urgency and brilliance at the core of his art, as well as the openness to nature that set it aflame.

Van Gogh accepted the night as a distorting condition, almost the way later modernists like Marcel Duchamp and Jean Arp would use chance to experiment and to break habits. Unable to see clearly, he painted what he saw, ultimately pitting his colors against one another as if they were antagonists in a visual drama. He egged on their clashes with exaggerated daubs of paint, bringing backgrounds forward and giving each inch of canvas its own sense of life. In Western art before him, only the semi-Western mosaics of Ravenna achieved such complete articulation.
- NYT

my only problem with art like this are the people that forge them. it's sick how some people go so far as to reproduce EXACTLY how the painting was done - but from a slightly different perspective. for instance, there are only something like thirty or forty paintings by vermeer, and yet "new" ones show up all the time! those aren't the real things, they're fakes!

faux van gogh. that's something people should keep looking at and bringing those who do this to justice.

funny story about fakes: a guy gets arrested for allegedly stealing a painting by a famous artist (i don't recollect who it was), and he gets put to trial. problem is, the painting he allegedly stole - he made. it was a forgery. and he tried to prove it to the people of the court by painting another one in that style and with the same tools as the original artist. the point is: he actually had to prove the art was a fake and everything! in court he had to do this! i don't remember what the sentence was, but it was something ridiculously short.

Source:

www.colourlovers.com

Art History News: Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night


The Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, presented Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night . the first exhibition to examine Vincent van Gogh’s lyrical view of the night through nocturnal interiors and landscapes, which he often combined with other longstanding themes of his art—peasant life, sowers, wheatfields, and the encroachment of modernity on the rural scene.

This exhibition included 23 paintings and 10 works on paper from all periods of Van Gogh’s career, as well as a selection of his letters and examples of the rich literary sources that influenced the artist’s work in this area by writers such as Hans Christian Andersen, Jules Michelet, and Emile Zola.

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night was organized by Joachim Pissarro, Adjunct Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Galleries, Hunter College, New York; Sjraar van Heugten, Head of Collections, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; and Jennifer Field, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. It was on view at MoMA from September 21, 2008, to January 5, 2009, and then traveled to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where it will be on view February 13 to June 7, 2009.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) depicted and reflected upon the night throughout his career. Painting in the dark was a challenge in the late nineteenth century, particularly for an artist who relied merely on his powers of observation; Van Gogh refused to be bound by this alternative to work strictly from observation, or from imagination. Instead, he relied on both. Thus, he was also an artist for whom the real was intertwined with the symbolic, and who set out to capture the spiritual qualities he sensed in the world around him. It was during the night hours that his experiments with imagination, memory, and observation, altogether went the farthest.

Mr. Pissarro said, “Van Gogh’s night scenes offer rich layers of significations and associations. Some show the strong relationship that he perceived between the cycles of nature and those of rural labor. Others evoke poetic associations of the evening with either the vagaries of life in modern times or with profound metaphysical questions. Van Gogh’s works and letters not only carried on the art historical tradition of twilight and night scenes but also reflected how his thoughts were influenced by abundant literary sources. The powerful technical innovation— Van Gogh’s signature—that he applied to capture the effects of dark and light proved to be a rewarding field of investigation.”

The exhibition was divided into four sections. “Early Landscapes” features Van Gogh’s earliest landscapes at dusk, painted in 1883-84. “Peasant Life” refers to Van Gogh’s study of peasants in Nuenen in the southern Dutch province of Brabant, and features, most notably, The Potato Eaters (1885). The third section, “Sowers and Wheatfields,” addresses his interest in the sowing of wheat, which formed the basis of many of his works, including The Sower (1888). The last section, “Poetry of the Night,” focuses on Van Gogh’s lyrical view of the night and is divided into two parts: “The Town,” which features works such as The Night Café (1888), which will only be shown in the MoMA presentation, and The Starry Night over the Rhône (1888); and “The Country,” which centers on Van Gogh’s iconic painting The Starry Night (1889) from MoMA’s collection.

Van Gogh did not pursue a career as an artist until 1880, when he was 27 years old. Many of his earliest paintings portray the effects of aerial light, particularly around sunset, on the landscape of Brabant, the region in the southern Netherlands where he was born.

In these works, including Lane of Poplars at Sunset (1884)

and Evening Landscape (1885), the artist aligned himself with the centuries-old traditions of night scenes and Dutch landscape painting, typified by seventeenth century masters such as Rembrandt and Jacob van Ruisdael, respectively. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, nocturnal landscapes were favored by the Barbizon painters in France, such as Charles Daubigny and Jules Dupré, whom Van Gogh greatly admired. At first a devotee of their effets de soir, or “evening effects,” Van Gogh soon took up the challenge of fashioning his own approach and modernizing this genre with his striking use of color and rhythmic brushstroke.

Van Gogh believed that rural laborers stood closer to nature than other people, and were more strongly linked to the cycles of life. Between 1883 and 1885, while living with his parents in Brabant, he made a series of paintings and drawings describing the humble life of the peasants there.

One of these was The Potato Eaters which depicts a family gathered around their evening meal. His first significant interior night scene, it is also widely accepted as his first major canvas. To make it he returned regularly to the home of a local family and sketched them at dinner. In 1885, he included a sketch of the scene in a letter in his brother Theo. Before starting the final composition, Van Gogh made one large study, from which he printed a lithograph, also on view, and a series of studies of figures and heads.

The Potato Eaters was immediately followed by The Cottage (1885), a painting of one of the region’s modest rural homes, again depicted in the evening. Van Gogh’s affection for such dwellings, which he called “human nests,” would be evident in his work until the end of his life.

Sowers and Wheatfields

In February 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles, a Provençal town in the South of France. Here he adopted a more vibrant palette, moving away from closely representational painting toward a more poetic, associative approach.

He was fascinated by the effects of the southern light at different times of day, and in several paintings he combined scenes of peasants sowing or harvesting wheat with the cool tones of twilight, or with the ambers and golds of a large sun nearing the horizon, like in the various versions of The Sower.

For Van Gogh, the endless flow of the days and the cycle of sowing and harvesting functioned symbolically as metaphors for the eternal cycle of life and death. It was in working through this theme that he began to come closer to his mature style, honing his use of complementary colors, such as violet and yellow, and embracing the stylistic elements of Japanese woodblock prints, which he had viewed with enthusiasm in Paris over the previous two years.

Poetry of the Night

Van Gogh looked hard at the world around him, and his depictions of night extended to the afterdark entertainments of urban life, such as cafés and dance halls.

In The Night Café, for example, he observed the listless patrons of a bar underneath the harsh glare of gas lamps at night. Despite their obvious differences, he connected this work to his earlier painting The Potato Eaters. an equally ambitious rendering of a complex figure arrangement in a nocturnal interior. Yet he was still preoccupied with nature, and after finishing The Night Café he wrote to his sister Wil, “I definitely want to paint a starry sky now.” He had expressed this aspiration in letters throughout 1888, but the painting had not yet materialized. Eventually he had the idea of setting up his easel under the outdoor gas lamps of an Arles café, which lit the canvas enough for him to paint a street scene below twinkling stars.

Twelve nights later, emboldened by the results of this endeavor, Van Gogh embarked on his seminal painting The Starry Night over the Rhône, which features a vast expanse of night sky in the upper half of the canvas.

Van Gogh’s interest in working from both observation and imagination fused in the night scenes he made in 1889 and 1890.

Among these was The Starry Night, the culmination of his intense effort to conquer the problems of using color to depict darkness, as well as to register the spiritual and symbolic meanings that he saw in the nighttime hours. The Starry Night, has become an iconic image, an emblem not only of Van Gogh’s own work but also of modern art in general. It shows a fantastical sky above a town and hills lit only by the stars and moon—which, however, are vibrant and alive. The little village and the hills beyond were inspired by Saint-Rémy and the nearby Alpilles mountain range, but were not modeled on them closely, and the cypress trees and the thickly painted, swirling astral sky stemmed from Van Gogh’s imagination. In the open night skies Van Gogh perceived formidable forces of nature, capable both of providing consolation amid life’s daily adversities and of evoking eternity.

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night features essays by Joachim Pissarro, Sjraar van Heugten, Chris Stolwijk Geeta Bruin, Jennifer Field, and Maite van Dijk. Van Gogh Museum / The Museum of Modern Art, 160 pages, 115 illustrations.

Source:

arthistorynewsreport.blogspot.ru

Van Gogh and the colours of the night (Van Gogh en de kleuren van de nacht) - CODART - Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Van Gogh en de kleuren van de nacht Venues From the museum website, 01-12-2008

Van Gogh and the colours of the night is an unique exhibition of paintings by Vincent van Gogh evoking the atmosphere of the evening and night. The exhibition will be organised in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. One of the masterpieces from the MoMA collection, the world-famous painting Starry night. will be on display again in the Van Gogh Museum for the first time since 1990.

Well before he became an artist, Van Gogh was fascinated by the cycles of nature and human life and the times of the day. Scenes set at dusk, evening, or night form a constantly returning motif in his work, many of which are masterpieces like The potato eaters or the Sower-series.

Poetry of the night and the forces of nature

The exhibition will explore the different layers of content of these works: the poetry of the night and the association with modern times on one hand, and the everlasting forces of nature on the other, the literary sources that influenced Van Gogh; and, last but not least, the stylistic and technical methods which Van Gogh applied to conceive his effects of dark and light.

Publication

Van Gogh en de kleuren van de nacht
Sjraar van Heugten, Joachim Pissarro, Chris Stolwijk and others
Catalogue of an exhibition held in 2008-09 in New York (Museum of Modern Art) and in 2009 in Amsterdam (Van Gogh Museum)
160 pp. 115 illustrations, paper bound
Amsterdam (Van Gogh Museum) and New York (Museum of Modern Art) 2008

Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), The starry night. 1889
New York, Museum of Modern Art

Source:

www.codart.nl

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night by Sjaar van Heugten

Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night

▾ Book descriptions

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0870707361. Hardcover)

Throughout his career, Vincent van Gogh attempted the paradoxical task of representing night through color and tonality. His procedure followed the trend set by the Impressionists of "translating" visual light effects with various color combinations, yet this goal was grafted onto his desire to interweave the visual and the metaphorical in order to produce fresh and original works of art. These different artistic concerns found themselves powerfully bound together in Van Gogh's nocturnal and twilight paintings and drawings. This illuminating volume, published to accompany the first exhibition to focus on this aspect of Van Gogh's career, presents new insight on Van Gogh's depictions of night landscapes, interior scenes and the effects of both artificial and natural light on their surroundings. Representing all periods of the artist's career, this volume features more than 100 images of superlative quality, including large reproductions of works by Van Gogh, details of iconic paintings and images of works by other artists that were important to the development of Van Gogh's oeuvre. Essays by the exhibition organizers provide historical and personal contexts for better understanding the artist's motives and offer in-depth studies of the technical and stylistic aspects of Van Gogh's work.
Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 in The Netherlands. His career as an artist lasted only 10 years, but he produced almost 2,000 paintings and works on paper during this brief period, many of them described or sketched in his extensive correspondence with his brother Theo. Van Gogh is most celebrated for his bold use of color and expressive painting technique. He spent his last years in the south of France, where he painted many of his most famous works. He died in Auvers-sur-Oise, just north of Paris, on July 29, 1890.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:27 -0400)

▾ Library descriptions

Co-published by Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum in conjunction with the first exhibition to focus on Vincent van Gogh's depictions of nocturnal and twilight scenes, Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night examines the artist's night landscapes, interior scenes, and representations of the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. It features over one hundred illustrations, including details of Van Gogh's iconic paintings and works by other artist important to the development of his style. … (more )

Source:

www.librarything.com

And the Colors of the Night (Sjaar van - 9780870707377

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and the Colors of the Night (Sjaar van… - 9780870707377 - Book

9780870707377 (? ) or 087070737X in english, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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    By Joachim Pissarro, Chris Stolwijk, and Sjraar van Heugten, with essays by Geeta Bruin, Jennifer Field, and Maite van Dijk Co-published by MoMA and the Van Gogh Museum in conjunction with the first exhibition to focus on Vincent van Gogh's depictions of nocturnal and twilight scenes, Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night examines the artist's night landscapes, interior scenes, and representations of the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. It features over one hundred illustrations, including details of Van Gogh's iconic paintings and works by other artist important to the development of his style. Essays by Joachim Pissarro, Adjunct Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, Sjraar van Heugten, Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, and Chris Stolwijk, Head of Research at the Van Gogh Museum, provide context for better understanding the artist's motives and offer in-depth studies of the technical and stylistic aspects of Van Gogh's work. paperback. Ausgabe: Not Indicated, Label: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Produktgruppe: Book, Publiziert: 2008, Studio: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Verkaufsrang: 6029317

    Keywords: Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Money, Calendars, Children's Books, Christian Books & Bibles, Comics & Graphic Novels, Computers & Technology, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Teaching, Engineering & Transportation, Gay & Lesbian, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Humor & Entertainment, Law, Literature & Fiction, Medical Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Parenting & Relationships, Politics & Social Sciences, Reference, Religion & Spirituality, Romance, Science & Math, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Self-Help, Sports & Outdoors, Teen & Young Adult, Test Preparation, Travel
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    ISBN (alternative notations): 0-87070-737-X, 978-0-87070-737-7

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    9780870707377 (? ) or 087070737X in english, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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    Usually ships in 1-2 business days

    By Joachim Pissarro, Chris Stolwijk, and Sjraar van Heugten, with essays by Geeta Bruin, Jennifer Field, and Maite van Dijk Co-published by MoMA and the Van Gogh Museum in conjunction with the first exhibition to focus on Vincent van Gogh's depictions of nocturnal and twilight scenes, Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night examines the artist's night landscapes, interior scenes, and representations of the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. It features over one hundred illustrations, including details of Van Gogh's iconic paintings and works by other artist important to the development of his style. Essays by Joachim Pissarro, Adjunct Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, Sjraar van Heugten, Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, and Chris Stolwijk, Head of Research at the Van Gogh Museum, provide context for better understanding the artist's motives and offer in-depth studies of the technical and stylistic aspects of Van Gogh's work. paperback. Ausgabe: Not Indicated, Label: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Produktgruppe: Book, Publiziert: 2008, Studio: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Verkaufsrang: 6029317

    Keywords: Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Money, Calendars, Children's Books, Christian Books & Bibles, Comics & Graphic Novels, Computers & Technology, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Education & Teaching, Engineering & Transportation, Gay & Lesbian, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Humor & Entertainment, Law, Literature & Fiction, Medical Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Parenting & Relationships, Politics & Social Sciences, Reference, Religion & Spirituality, Romance, Science & Math, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Self-Help, Sports & Outdoors, Teen & Young Adult, Test Preparation, Travel
    Data from 01/21/2016 06:19h
    ISBN (alternative notations): 0-87070-737-X, 978-0-87070-737-7

    Source:

    gb.diebuchsuche.com

  • Go See: Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night, at the Museum of Modern Art, now through January 5 - AO Art Observed™

    September 30th, 2008

    Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night features nocturnal themes in the artist’s body of work, product of many sleepless nights contemplating the people, cityscapes and countrysides of France and Holland. ‘The Starry Night,’ one of his best known pieces, and the aesthetically- and thematically- related ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’ are among the 23 paintings and 10 works of paper on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Van Gogh ‘s fascination with the colors, forms and inhabitants of the night is palpable in the paintings, which all feature his signature bold colors and lines.

    Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night: Through January 5, 2009
    Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

    Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night: MoMA site [MoMA]
    MoMA Presents First Exhibition to Examine Van Gogh’s Nocturnal Landscapes and Interiors [Artdaily]
    Did Van Gogh Need More Sleep? Starlit Obsessions at MoMA Show [Bloomberg]
    Van Gogh and the Colours of the Night, NY [Financial Times]
    Nocturnal Van Gogh, Illuminating the Darkness [New York Times]

    The works in Colors range from interiors (‘The Night Cafe’) to pastoral landscapes (‘Landscape with Wheat Sheaves and Moon’), to representations of humble peasants sharing a meal (‘The Potato Eaters’). Joachim Pissarro, the exhibition’s curator, on Van Gogh’s artistic relationship with the night:“Van Gogh’s night scenes offer rich layers of significations and associations. Some show the strong relationship that he perceived between the cycles of nature and those of rural labor. Others evoke poetic associations of the evening with either the vagaries of life in modern times or with profound metaphysical questions.” [via ArtDaily ]

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 at 7:08 pm and is filed under Go See. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response. or trackback from your own site.

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    Starry Night Analysis

    Starry Night Analysis

    Vincent van Gogh

    The night sky depicted by van Gogh in the Starry Night painting is brimming with whirling clouds, shining stars, and a bright crescent moon. The setting is one that viewers can relate to and van Gogh´s swirling sky directs the viewer´s eye around the painting, with spacing between the stars and the curving contours creating a dot-to-dot effect. These internal elements ensure fluidity and such contours were important for the artist even though they were becoming less significant for other Impressionists. Thus Starry Night´s composition was distinct from the Impressionist technique of the 19th century.

    The artist was aware that his Starry Night composition was somewhat surreal and stylized and in a letter to his brother he even referred to "exaggerations in terms of composition. " The vivid style chosen by van Gogh was unusual - he chose lines to portray this night scene when silhouettes would have been a more obvious choice.

    In Starry Night contoured forms are a means of expression and they are used to convey emotion. Many feel that van Gogh´s turbulent quest to overcome his illness is reflected in the dimness of the night sky. The village is painted with dark colors but the brightly lit windows create a sense of comfort. The village is peaceful in comparison to the dramatic night sky and the silence of the night can almost be felt in Starry Night. The steeple dominates the village and symbolizes unity in the town. In terms of composition, the church steeple gives an impression of size and isolation.

    In the left foreground is a curvy cypress tree which is typically associated with mourning. It is painted in the same way as the sky with fluid lines which enhances the flow of the Starry Night painting well as its easiness on the eye.

    Starry Night Use of color

    Vincent van Gogh

    Van Gogh´s choice of color in Starry Night has been much debated, particularly the dominance of yellow in this and other late works. Some believe van Gogh may have been suffering from lead poisoning or a type of brain disease and that this explains his strange use of color in later paintings.

    Van Gogh's use of white and yellow creates a spiral effect and draws attention to the sky. Vertical lines such as the cypress tree and church tower softly break up the composition without retracting from the powerful night sky depicted in Starry Night.

    Vincent van Gogh´s choice of dark blues and greens were complemented with touches of mint green showing the reflection of the moon. The buildings in the centre of the painting are small blocks of yellows, oranges, and greens with a dash of red to the left of the church. The dominance of blue in Starry Night is balanced by the orange of the night sky elements.

    Van Gogh paints the rich colors of the night and this corresponds with the true character of this Starry Night, whereby colors are used to suggest emotion.

    Starry Night Use of Light

    Vincent van Gogh

    Van Gogh´s passion for nighttime is evident in the Starry Night painting, where the powerful sky sits above the quiet town. It seems that van Gogh is contrasting life and death with luminous stars and a gloomy, peaceful village. The main light sources are the bright stars and crescent moon.

    Starry Night Mood, Tone and Emotion

    Vincent van Gogh

    There are various interpretations of Starry Night and one is that this canvas depicts hope. It seems that van Gogh was showing that even with a dark night such as this it is still possible to see light in the windows of the houses. Furthermore, with shining stars filling the sky, there is always light to guide you. It seems that van Gogh was finally being cured of his illness and had essentially found his heaven. He also knew that in death he would be at peace and further portrays this by using bold colors in the Starry Night painting.

    In a letter to his brother, Theo, van Gogh comments: "I should not be surprised if you liked the Starry Night and the Ploughed Fields, there is a greater quiet about them than in the other canvases. " Later in the letter he makes reference to Leo Tolstoys book My Religion and its lack of belief in resurrection. Such fleeting mentions of religion echoed van Goghs feelings towards the subject at this time; he could neither forget it nor totally accept it. Despite this, his use of the word 'quiet' and reference to Tolstoys book indicates that the night sky made him feel calm and brought to mind eternity.

    Starry Night shows the vast power of nature and the church spire and cypress tree - representing man and nature - both point to the heavens.

    Starry Night Brushstroke

    Vincent van Gogh

    In Starry Night van Gogh´s unique, thick brush strokes are very much obvious and it´s possible that his severe attacks further dramatized his brush work. However, there is a consistency to his technique that adds even more depth as well as a rich texture to this work of art.

    Vincent van Gogh Page Menu

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