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The Starry Night
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The Starry Night
is a nocturne (night picture) of the Provencal landscape. Van Gogh's painting of The Starry Night includes cypress trees, a village, and mountains beneath a crescent moon. The night sky is alive and turbulent with stars.

Vincent Van Gogh was uncharacteristically quiet about the subject of this picture. He simply mentions to Theo in a letter that he is painting a new starry night (referring to the "Starlight over the Rhone" which he had painted the year before in Arles).

Although Van Gogh believed that all nocturnes should be painted at night, when the colors of darkness are apparent, we know from Van Gogh's pencil sketches of the painting that The Starry Night is a powerful act of creative invention.

Van Gogh - The Starry Night
The Starry Night

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The Starry Night is a painting about Van Gogh's view of the cosmic order. The powerful forces of heaven are seen in the night sky, rolling over a slumbering earth. While the church steeple makes an attempt to connect with heaven, it is the cypress tree (nature) in the foreground that succeeds in reaching heaven.

The paint is applied in pulsing, short brushstrokes. The long black lines create a primal, sinuous feeling. The colors are electric and vibrant.

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