Monday, September 2, 2013

The Starry Night...

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh Self Portait
Most of us have heard about the ‘crazy’ artist, Vincent Van Gogh. I remember studying about him a little in school and about all I remembered is that he cut part of his ear off because he was lovesick over a woman. He did not enjoy any fame while he was alive because of his artistic work, in fact, He only ever sold one painting and he is remembered by those who knew him as a slovenly, smoke and drink addicted, irritable man. He seemed to be prone to bouts of mental illness, no one really knows why though. He did drink and smoke heavily, had perpetual money troubles, seemed never to be satisfied with life, and was rebuffed by women he had loved and proposed to, more than once. (That would certainly depress a guy now wouldn’t it?)

It has been recorded he was hospitalized for the clap (gonorrhea), and possibly syphilis, long term syphilis might account for some of his mental illness, but we will never know the answers to these questions. It is said that many people who exhibit genius of some sort are just a stone’s throw away from being considered loco (crazy) in the head, and because of their abilities they soar and leave the rest of us in the dirt, but they are different because of that genius. That seems like it was a two-edged sword for poor Vincent, but I am sure his lifestyle compounded it. Sadly he has only been recognized for his artistic genius after his death, but he brings a beauty to the canvas that has made a few of his paintings world recognized icons of art.  

Icons breed familiarity and also mock-ups and parodies of the famous work. Just like ‘American Gothic’ by Grant Wood, Van Gogh’s famous painting entitled ‘Starry Night’ has accumulated its share of infamous re-dos. These parodies only occur because a symbol, such as a famous painting, is so familiar in the culture that a majority of the persons in that culture can identify with it. I see the parodies as recognition of super-star status, not as a disrespectful thing.
Van Gogh, a post-impressionist artist painted his famous ‘Starry Night’ in 1889, while he was a patient in a mental health asylum in Saint-Remy village in the south of France. It is a stylized view of the scene he could observe outside his window. He painted it from memory of what he could see in the day time but made the setting of the painting at night. It is a painting alive with movement and color. The original can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.


Starry Night Parody Gallery

Starry Night and the Tardis

Starry Night J.R.R. Tolkien Style
Snoopy and the Starry Night

Batman and the Starry Night
A Starry Hogwarts Night
Starry Night, as seen in the future

A Starry Mona Lisa Night

The Kitten, all alone, on a Starry Night

Starry Night a la Abbey Road

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