Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night stands as an iconic painting to the artist’s unique vision and emotional depth. Many of us are not just familiar with, but have studied and written various stories about it. The Starry Night was painted in 1889 during the artist’s stay at the Saint-Paul de Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. From its inception to the present day, this masterpiece has been one of the most recognized and celebrated works in the history of art.
Over the years, The Starry Night has also created much conversation around Van Gogh’s turbulence and his struggle with mental health. The painting’s swirling patterns in the sky may reflect on his past struggles in life and the intense use of colours convey a sense of emotion and urgency, offering an insight into Van Gogh’s battles and his attempt to find solace in the beauty of the night.
In KHAMSA’s latest feature ‘AI Art Review’, we delve into art criticism, but with a twist – the one doing it is not a prominent artist, but an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. We asked an AI software what it thought of The Starry Night and asked it to analyse it in detail. The results are fascinating.
(The following analysis is a word-for-word reproduction of the answer Bard gave to our question. The opinions are of the software and not necessarily KHAMSA’s)
What AI thinks of The Starry Night
The painting is divided into two halves: the calm village below and the swirling, vibrant sky above. This creates a sense of contrast and tension. The horizon is low, which draws the viewer’s eye up into the sky. The cypress tree in the foreground acts as a focal point and a link between the two halves of the painting. Van Gogh uses a limited palette of blues, greens, yellows, and whites, but he applies them in a thick, impasto style that creates a sense of energy and movement.
The stars are the most striking feature of the painting. They are painted in large, swirling brushstrokes and seem to dance across the canvas. The colours in the sky are often interpreted as symbolic of Van Gogh’s own inner turmoil. The cypress tree in The Starry Night, is often seen as a symbol of death, but it can also be seen as hope and resilience. The stars in the painting are often seen as a depiction of faith. The village below is seen as a form of peace and tranquillity.
The Starry Night is a powerful and evocative painting that has captured the imagination of viewers for over a century. It is a testament to Van Gogh’s unique vision and his ability to translate his inner world onto canvas.
Over the years, the well-acclaimed painting has received some negative feedback, such as the intense swirl of blues and yellows, while undoubtedly striking, can be overwhelming for some viewers. The lack of cooler tones might create a sense of imbalance or anxiety. The swirling sky, almost reminiscent of a cosmic whirlpool, could be interpreted as overly dramatic or even histrionic. It might overshadow the tranquillity of the village below. Furthermore, Van Gogh’s expressive brushwork and bold colours deviate significantly from a realistic depiction of the night sky. This could alienate viewers seeking a more traditional approach to landscape painting.
While the swirling sky evokes awe and wonder for many, it can also be interpreted as melodramatic and sentimental. The exaggerated forms and intense colours border on kitsch, potentially diminishing the emotional depth of the painting. Van Gogh’s signature impasto technique, while undeniably impactful, can overshadow the composition itself. The thick paint application masks details and creates a sense of chaos, potentially distracting from the underlying message or scene.
Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night stands as a testament to his importance of emotional expression over technical precision. This focus on Van Gogh’s inner turmoil might come across as self-indulgent, prioritizing the artist’s psyche over a broader connection with the viewer.