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Starlight over the Rhone

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Painted in 1888, Starlight over the Rhone was painted out-of-doors on location. Van Gogh's painting was developing a distinctive style characterized by strength and speedy execution. Starlight over the Rhone is a nocturne (night picture) in which Van Gogh attempts to describe the colors that exist in the night.

In order to paint at night, Van Gogh used to light candles and attach them to his straw hat and on his easel. By the time he painted Starlight over the Rhone, Van Gogh's technique enabled him to work very quickly, putting the main elements of the picture on to the canvas during a single session.

Starlight over the Rhone
Starlight over the Rhone

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This is one of a trio of famous paintings of the night in which Van Gogh paints the night sky's presence over the world. The other two paintings are The Starry Night and Café Terrace. It was characteristic of Van Gogh's paintings that he included symbolism through which he attempted to communicate the intangible.

The paint is applied in a manner similar to drawing techniques: by stippling, hatching and outlining.

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