Formal Analysis of Art

Formal Analysis of Art
                                                      Erica Tyson
                                                  October 3, 2010
                                                    Course Art/101

    Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of the most discussed and influential pieces of
artwork ever created. As far as oil paintings are concerned, Starry Night has become as
important in popular culture as any of the greatest songs and films of our generation. Van Gogh’s
Starry Night is a unique painting for numerous reasons. Composed in slight contrast to the
impressionist style of the 19th century, Van Gogh’s work is an exaggerated, surreal work that is
at equal measures relaxing and intriguing. The painting itself depicts a collection of lightly
swirled clouds and overwhelming, blazing stars in the sky. Everything is larger than life and the
sky appears more like a frothy ocean than the heavens at night .The curves and pinpoints location
of each star forces the observer’s eyes to move about the painting as much as possible. Directly
below the sky is a small town, composed   of darkened colors and brightly lit window spaces,
creating a sense of wonder emanating from each window. The steeple of the church acts as a
binding force, representing stability and centrality for the town. On the far left side of the
painting is the curvy, unknown structure that has intrigued scholars for decades. Painted in the
same manner as the sky with curving, flowing lines, the structure could be anything from a tree
to a mountain. Much has been made of the colors used in Van Gogh’s Starry Night, especially
the heavy use of yellow that permeated much of his later work. Theories including lead
poisoning and certain brain diseases have been postulated as reasons for his odd color selections
late in life.
    In Wall Drawing 681C the arrangement of ink color combinations appears to be random;
however, within each...