Formal Analysis of "The Starry Night"

692 Words3 Pages
Jessica Revis
Dr. Mary Donahue
Art 1133
February 9, 2014

Formal Analysis of “The Starry Night”

I did not have the opportunity to travel to a local art museum in person. So, I chose to The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan through a virtual tour they offer though their website. After spending some time browsing the many pieces of art I came across an old favorite, Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” and chose it to explore though a visual analysis. Van Gogh created “The Starry Night” in 1889, at the age of 36, during the Post Impressionism Era. It is an oil painting on a 29” x 36” canvas. The picture shows the view from his window at the Saint Remy Asylum in Providence (located in southern France), just a year before his suicide. “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” This is how he spoke of it in a letter he sent with the painting to his brother, Theo. After studying the painting for a long time, I chose first 4 fundamentals of art that really caught my attention to explain for my formal analysis. Van Gogh’s use of line, color, motion, and rhythm spoke to me the strongest. We learned in chapter 1 the definitions and functions of these elements and principles. A line connects two points, defines boundaries between planes and shapes, directs the viewer’s eye, and conveys a sense of movement and energy. Color attracts our attention and excites our emotions; our perceptions of color are personal and subjective. When an object changes location motion has occurred. Motion is implied when we do not actually see the motion happening, but visual clues tell us that it is a key aspect of the work. Rhythm is present when there are at least two points of reference. Rhythm gives structure to viewing an artwork, as it guides your eyes from one point to another. When

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