Vincent Van Gogh.
Starry Night Over the Rhone. (1888).
The painting was painted in Arles at the edge of the Rhone in September 1888. It is former to the Starlight Night painted in the night from the 17 to June 18, 1889. If in the Starlight Night of 1889 one clearly perceives the influence of the Japanese Masters with the volutes and the spirals, here one perceives that of the impressionists, Pissarro and Signac. These 2 painters practised the pointillism and one sees well here that the key of Vincent is very fragmented. The painting was achieved by means of a knife, they are short and short blows of knife. Vincent invents a manner of painting between the pointillism and the impressionism which is its manner, we will call it : " in fish scale ". An attentive examination of the zoom will show you quickly why. The range of blue is different, even if the colors are close. The movement is induced by the sky, water and by the reflections of the light of the standard lamps on the river. The sky has less of importance than in the second Starlight night of 1889. It is especially the water which creates the movement bus of course the paintings of Vincent are never stable, anything move, all the time, and in multiple directions.
The point of view of the witness is at the level of the bank under the horizon. It is a neutral manner to leaves the choice between first of all looking at the sky or water. But because of the yellow reflections in water the glance goes down.
The principal reflections are located on the tension fields and are close to the natural points of interests.
The sky and water occupy each one more than one third of pictorial space. There is a paradox. The night the sky is not blue but black and here the blue of the sky is much clearer than that of water. It should be the opposite. Van Gogh is not a realistic painter, which it represents is not the reality.
The painting is built on the ascending diagonal. The principal hot lines go in this direction. The lines induced by the reflections go down. They are in opposition. It is a manner of destabilizing the glance and to create an impression of movement.
The origin of the lights is especially the houses, the reflections are right below on water. The standard lamps with gas are small yellow keys.
For the reflections in water Vincent alternates briefs blows of gilded and blue knives while going down.
This couple in the half-light is insulated. The situation is distressing. One wonders whether Edwards Munch who painted the Cry in 1893 is not inspired here.
To give to the sky such a pace of fireworks Van Gogh represents the stars like flowers, yellow dahlias…
It is a vertical logic. With each star or stars corresponds a light of the city groups which has are reflection in water. The light goes down and all work seems to be stretched downwards.
Colors : Contrasts between complementary colors. Heats and cold.
Similar Paintings :
Camille Pissarro. Boulevard Montmartre, Night Effect. (1897).
Vincent Van Gogh : The Café Terrace, at Night. (1888).
Vincent Van Gogh : The Starry Night. (1889).
Vincent Van Gogh : The Church at Auvers. (1890).