Saturday, February 2, 2013

An inspirational starry night

Van Gogh (pronounced like the "ough" in "cough") painted one of the most well recognized pieces in America when he painted "Starry Night". The swirls and peaceful yet tumultuous mood of the piece inspires both creativity, wonder, and possibly some fear. It makes me think of all of the things in the universe that we don't see or know about, and about how all of them are moving and interacting constantly. Van Gogh painted "Starry Night" from his insane asylum. It is possible that he was trying to convey the foreboding mood of that night, as sleep was clearly offering him no refuge and the night no one to which to turn.

The poet Anne Sexton published a poem with the same title in1981. The poem has a fatalistic tone, relating to the tone of the art piece. She describes part of the scene in one paragraph:

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.   
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die. 
She talks about a drowned woman, and later states that somehow, this painting is how she wants to die. Possibly she simply felt a melancholic romance toward death when she saw this piece. She, like Van Gogh, committed suicide.

Not all people see this painting as foreboding. It can be found on dorm walls or computer desktops, serving as a beautiful display of art and culture. In fact, apple has produced a starry night app in which one can interact with the swirling stars as they float across the screen. The app transforms this piece into a magical swirl of colors and music which can be manipulated with a simple touch.

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