Monday, December 29, 2008

Vincent van Gogh - Nineteenth Century Nocturne

Many artists (yes, that includes photographers) often look outside their chosen art for inspiration. I know many photographers who look to music (especially jazz and blues) for inspiration. But let's not forget about the other visual arts, especially painting.

"It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day," van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in 1888

(The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh)

Van Gogh's most famous paintings include his night work The Starry Night (1889) and The Night Cafe. But an article in this month's issue of Smithsonian magazine discusses some of his other great night paintings, including The Starry Night over the Rhone. The article was published to coincide with a show dedicated to Van Gogh's night painting. According to fellow famous impressionist Pissarro, "[Van Gogh] lived at night. He didn't sleep until three or four in the morning. . . . He [often] meditated over the very rich associations that he saw in the night."

Sounds like a case of Nocturnalism to me!

(Starry Night over the Rhone, by Vincent Van Gogh)

"Van Gogh and the Colors of Night" will be on display at the New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) through January 5, 2009 (that's right... it's open for one whole more week!), then it moves to Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum for four months.


Blogger Tim Baskerville said...

Yeah, Andy - and let's not forget Edward Hopper (American Painter/Printmaker) whose iconic works, such as "Nighthawks" (1942 and often imitated in pop culture) showed the dark side, the loneliness (or was it 'alone-ness') of the American dream. I know his work was a big influence on me, growing up - even before I 'found' photography.

See MFA Boston - - for more about his fascinating, complex Nocturne - one who is (as I tell my classes as we study the History of NPy) - "my favorite Night Photographer - who never used a camera!"

8:35 PM  
Blogger leahtass said...

I love these paintings!

4:40 AM  

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