The most exciting part of this past school year is getting to hone in, focus and research on what I actually want to do. Though my architecture and art history projects are different, ultimately I’ve been trying to blend them both. But to an outside eye, both the art and architecture worlds can be intimidating. As I try to blend one with the other, the people on either side tend to look at me like I’m nuts. Which I may be, but that’s beside the point.
For studio, I had to build a model around my research which is inherently incredibly abstract. But for part of this, I needed an image that people knew through and through regardless of their relationship to art and art history. I went through the list, thinking of Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, but nothing felt right. In the end, my friend suggested Starry Night and it was perfect. But it did get me thinking, why is it so iconic? What is it about a collection of swirls and abstract representations of the sky that attract people so much?
My first instinct is always the way that Vincent Van Gogh finds a way to represent such a range of emotion through shape and color. I’ve written about him before but this man is renowned for a reason. One of my favorite artists and one of the people who got me into art in the first place. Something about Starry Night elicits a sense of comfort and melancholy, but the bright pops of starlight create moments of lift throughout the piece. I think it may be one of the few paintings that accurately portrays the emotion of looking at starlight.
But honestly, I think I also might have even gone too deep there. Because for most people, I think the first reaction to art is: “Is it pretty?” And honestly, Starry Night checks that box too. Van Gogh made something that is abstract enough to be artistic, but clear enough you know exactly what you’re looking at. The painting, regardless of mood or emotion or historical background is inherently beautiful. It looks good on office walls and phone backgrounds, and represents a place of comfort for a lot of people. It is recognizable because it is pleasing to the eye and to the soul.
Regardless, I owe Mr. Vincent a thank you for helping me in my project… 133 years later. The instant recognizable quality and interesting structure has paired well with such an abstract model based purely on thought. If I get an A, it’ll be him I have to thank.
Featured Image: https://smarthistory.org/van-gogh-the-starry-night/