Starry Night - Facts & Analysis

do you know who painted the STARRY NIGHT?

This painting became  an overnight sensation, and is one of the most instantly recognizable artworks today!

the STARRY NIGHT was painted by none other than vincent van gogh!

Painted in 1889, it depicts the view from van Gogh's asylum room window in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

who was vincent van gogh?

Although not a famous artist when he was alive, he left a legacy of artwork few, if any, can compare with.  He was what we call a “tortured” artist and experienced considerable inner turmoil.

the Starry Night in context

When van Gogh painted The Starry Night, he was staying in a mental asylum in the southern parts of France.

In the lower-left corner we see a dark cypress tree reaching up into the sky. An interesting fact about the village is that it was believed to be created from van Gogh’s imagination, perhaps from sketches done of Saint-Rémy.

subject matter

The Starry Night is a matter of swirls, and this is what makes the composition, and emphasizes the subject matter.   There is significant dynamism created from the thick application of brushstrokes in flowing and circular lines.


There is a rich combination of vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and circular lines, made from thick brushstrokes and outlines. Perspective is highlighted by the looming verticality of the Cypress tree in the foreground.

perspective & space

There are several ideas surrounding its meaning. Some believe van Gogh painted it as a symbol of his inner turmoil   Many point to this painting as being a symbol of van Gogh’s expression of a higher realm of existence.

symbolism & style

The Starry Night (1889) should not be confused with van Gogh's other painting of a similar name, Starry Night Over the Rhône (1888)


Now considered a masterpiece from the Post-Impressionism art movement, The Starry Night is the star of the show and a 21st-century pop cultural scene easily spotted on memorabilia.