Vincent Van Gogh ‘s ‘The Starry Night’ is one of the most valuable works of art today!
The Starry Night is a reflection of Van Gogh’s turbulent state of mind. The swirling hill lines, the brightly painted sky in blue and yellow tones, the Cyprus trees, the mountains, a vibrant moon, and a rare view of the planet Venus…
Interestingly enough, Vincent Van Gogh was able to sell only one painting throughout his entire career and ended his life in misery at the age of 37. Today, the estimated value of The Starry Night is $100 million and is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
Van Gogh wrote many letters during his short life, and in one of them he referred to this painting as the ‘night effect’.
We tried to scrutinize Vincent Van Gogh’s difficulties in his life, his depressive periods, and the history, impressive story, and mystery of the world-famous painting, from a different perspective, under the title of ’10 Amazing Facts About The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh’.
10 Things You Need To Know About Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night
1- Van Gogh Painted Starry Night in an Asylum.
Van Gogh lived in an asylum for a little part of his life and this painting was made during one of his stays at the asylum.
He had a mental breakdown in 1888 and as a result, stayed at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in France and the view from his room there became his inspiration for this masterpiece.
In one of his letters to his brother Theo, “This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” wrote van Gogh to his brother Theo, describing his inspiration for one of his best-known paintings, The Starry Night (1889). This description of his later became the masterpiece that ‘The Starry Night’ is today.
2- “Through the iron-barred window, I can see an enclosed square of wheat.”
The window of his room in the asylum had iron bars to prevent patients from escaping. But Van Gogh ignored the bars, staring into the depths of freedom.
“Through the iron-barred window,” he wrote to his brother, Theo, around 23 May 1889, “I can see an enclosed square of wheat . . . above which, in the morning, I watch the sunrise in all its glory.”
3- He depicted an imaginary village in his painting!
The village in the painting was not actually there!
His room in the asylum was on the second floor, but painting was allowed in a studio on the first floor and he could not see the village of Saint Remy through the windows.
Art historians think that the village depicted in the painting is actually a village from one of the charcoal sketches of the French town where Van Gogh is located.
4- The Starry Night Represented Immortality!
This painting represented immortality! The trees of Cyprus are believed to represent cemeteries and death, while the stars are said to represent death and the hereafter.
He quoted “Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.
Why I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?
Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me, it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis, and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses, and railways are the terrestrial means.
To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.”
Also, all of Vincent van Gogh’s quotes and letters are all based on their beliefs about death, the afterlife, and immortality.
5- He Could Only Sell One Painting In His Life!
Vincent Van Gogh sold only 1 piece of his art in his lifetime. His painting ‘Red Vineyard at Arles’ was purchased by Belgian artist Anna Boch for 400 francs in 1890. This is the only (documented) sale of Van Gogh’s paintings that he did.
This painting is exhibited at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow now.
Recommended For You- Best Art Museums in the World.
He never actually considered selling ‘The Starry Night‘ because he saw the painting as a failure but the irony here is that, this is one of the most expensive works of art there is (in the whole world).
6- Starry Night Wasn’t The First Starry Night!
The painting that we all see with admiration today is not the first Starry Night, but the second.
In general, he considered this painting a major failure, and for this reason, he painted a total of 21 times.
He attributed the source of this failure to the fact that he had painted in a much more marketable technique. He felt that he had betrayed himself and his technique, that he was being two-faced.
7- Van Gogh Unknowingly Painted Venus.
A study that recreated the sky at the time and place where Van Gogh painted the Starry Night painting has confirmed that the planet Venus was indeed included in the painting.
Van Gogh referred to the shining Venus as the ‘Morning Star’ in his letters at the time the painting was created.
8- Van Gogh Depicted the Moon in Another Phase.
Another thing the researchers discovered is that the moon was not in a crescent phase at the time Van Gogh painted The Starry Night.
At that time, the Moon was close to the waning gibbous phase. This means that the Moon is approximately in its third-quarter phase.
In the theory presented by Albert Boime, Van Gogh originally intended to paint the Moon in the gibbous moon, but changed his mind and gave it a more traditional and recognizable image.
9- What Happened to Painting After Van Gogh Died?
Starry Night, along with about a dozen other paintings, was sent to Vincent’s brother Theo Van Gogh in Paris on September 28, 1889. However, Theo died just 6 months after Vincent committed suicide.
What happened to the painting after Theo Van Gogh died?
- After Theo died, Vincent’s widow, Jo, became the new owner of the piece.
- Jo sold the painting to poet Julien Leclercq in Paris in 1900.
- Julien Leclercq sold it to French painter Émile Schuffenecker in 1901.
- Interestingly, Jo soon took back the Starry Night painting from Émile Schuffenecker.
- Later, Jo sold Starry Night to the ‘Oldenzaal Gallery’ in Rotterdam in 1906.
- Georgette P. van Stolk from that gallery sold the piece to art dealer Paul Rosenberg in 1938.
- Paul Rosenberg finally sold the painting to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1941, and it is still there.
10- Starry Night Is One Of Van Gogh’s Last Artworks Before He Committed Suicide.
During his stay at the asylum, he meticulously studied the sky. Due to his position, his subjects were limited, but he never allowed this situation to limit his style.
He experimented and studied different weather conditions, changing light, and often nearby wheat fields with bright skies or dark storm clouds.
The Starry Night was one of Van Gogh’s last works of art since he committed suicide the following year. His short artistic career was only a short 10 years, but it was very fruitful. Van Gogh did not start painting until his late twenties, and he made his best-known paintings in the last two years of his life. He produced more than 2,000 works of art, including about 900 oil paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches.
The Museum of Modern Art bought it in 1941 and it has since become one of Van Gogh’s most famous works in its art history collection!