a look at

Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhône

WHO WAs van gogh?

Vincent van Gogh was born in the town of Groot-Zundert in the Netherlands. He created well over 1000 artworks, of which almost 900 were paintings.

historical overview

Van Gogh painted Starry Night Over the Rhône when he lived in Arles, a city in southern France. This was the time of the well-known incident when Van Gogh cut off part of his ear.


The Rhône is a river which flows through southern France. This river was apparently only a walk away for Van Gogh from the Yellow House, which is when he painted Starry Night Over the Rhône.

subject matter

Vincent van Gogh depicts a night scene from the embankment of the Rhône River. A vast night sky – illuminated by several small and big, bright, stars – makes up almost a third of the upper part of the composition.

color and value

Van Gogh described the town in the distance as “blue and purple”, and “yellow” for the gas, and the reflections were a “russet gold descending down to green-bronze”. 


Van Gogh utilized a variety of brushstrokes, from short and stocky for the sky to more thin and elongated strokes for the bank in the foreground. The brushstrokes are clearly visible on the canvas and create a rich textured composition

line, form, and shape

There is significant linearity in Starry Night Over the Rhône painting, which is created by Van Gogh’s use of brushstrokes. We see vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines.

the night holds many colors

Van Gogh exhibited Starry Night Over the Rhône at the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1889 in Paris. This was the same year when he painted his other “night effect”, as he referred to it, The Starry Night (1889).