Illusion bleue-Art Cloumn

Colorful Nights - "Starry Night Over the Rhone"

 " It often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day." - Vincent van Gogh, September 1888

  The serene and multicolored blues, the sparkling yellow stars - "Starry Night Over the Rhone" is the first "Starry Night" painted by Van Gogh. Due to the limited lighting at the time, Van Gogh is said to have painted this scene with a candle on his hat. Interestingly, the depiction of the Big Dipper in the painting was not visible at the actual location and was imagined by him. A French astronomer written about "Starry Night Over the Rhone," in his book saying that this is clearly not the sky seen over the town of Arles or over the lower course of the river to the south of the town, because the Great Bear is a northern constellation and is only visible in the north.[i]

 Poverty, physical frailty, and the absence of friends to talk to - perhaps these feelings of loneliness and anguish could only be expressed to the distant stars and passionate, rough strokes.

Draft sent to Eugène Boch

"Starry Night Over the Rhone" created in September 1888, currently housed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Vivid Colors-Born from Oriental Ukiyo-e Prints

 Van Gogh, known for his unique use of color, was greatly influenced by Ukiyo-e prints. In 1886, during his visit to Paris-the capital of art during the time , Van Gogh quickly became a regular customer at a shop on Rue de Provence that dealt with Ukiyo-e prints. The flat compositions, vivid and bold colors, and the Oriental world, distinct from traditional Western paintings, stimulated his senses and inspired him.
  Eventually, in 1888, Van Gogh left Paris and visited Arles in southern France in search of the vivid "Japan" he had envisioned. 

Ukiyo-e prints and sketches from Van Gogh - Van Gogh Museum collection

Ukiyo-e painted by Van Gogh - Van Gogh Museum collection

The Physical Solitude and Richness of the Soul

 Van Gogh fought poverty and loneliness throughout his life. While his body may have been lonely, the courage to pursue love and hope, and the longing of the soul for freedom, enriched his world. Perhaps this is the lesson that Van Gogh has imparted to us living in the modern era.

  "My dear sister... The more ugly, old, mean, ill, poor I get, the more I want to take my revenge by producing a brilliant colour, well arranged, resplendent. ... We need gaiety and happiness, hope and love." - Vincent van Gogh, 1888


[i] 『Les nuits étoilées de Vincent Van Gogh』, Jean-Pierre Luminet,