Vincent's Cultural Icon - Starry Night

Vincent's Cultural Icon - Starry Night Tragedies and Triumphs Visual Arts Nineteenth Century Life Famous People

Vincent created Starry Night in June, 1889, while he was a patient in a Saint-Rémy asylum. It remains one of his most popular works.

Often replicated as a print, Starry Night is still one of the most-recognized images in popular culture. Among other things, it is the subject of a song (“Starry, Starry Night”) by Don McLean.


Like other artists, Vincent was fascinated by light (and how the presence and absence of light impacted objects around him).

About sunlight, Vincent said:

Oh! that beautiful midsummer sun here. It beats down on one's head, and I haven't the slightest doubt that it makes one crazy. But as I was so to begin with, I only enjoy it. (Vincent to Émile Bernard in 1888.)

About darkness, Vincent said:

It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day....The problem of painting night scenes and effects on the spot and actually by night interests me enormously. (Vincent to his brother, Theo van Gogh, in 1888.)

Vincent loved starry nights. While working on his first canvas, depicting a starry night, he was also reading some of Walt Whitman’s poems. He really valued the poet’s imagery which came through his words. Vincent told his sister Wil:

He [Whitman] sees...under the great starlit vault of heaven a something which after all one can only call God—and eternity in its place above the world.

Vincent's original painting, of "Starry Night," is now owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It is consistently the Museum's most-viewed work. 

Click on the painting's image to greatly enlarge its view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jan 22, 2020

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Web Gallery of Art.



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"Vincent's Cultural Icon - Starry Night" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jan 22, 2020.
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