van Gogh - Starry night


  van Gogh - Starry night

Starry Night - In 1889, Vincent van Gogh
painted this pictures at the closed Saint-Rémy mental asylum

Stars above - inner light - outside night. This is how the image has been burnt into my memory and feelings. At the top I see wonderful, shimmering stars, with the moon showing the month and weeks. Inside, the illuminated houses of a village nestled in the hilly landscape. Outside it is dark, a cypress blazing wildly into the heights announces disaster from below.

The sky is like an apparition of movement and light. It vibrates in small, colourful strokes. These are placed deliberately and with skill, and in doing so the painter has painted himself deeply into the picture. The sky is raging in ebbs, waves and flows. From the gurgling depths of the sky, two swirls flood out and pour into two broad streams. At the bottom left of the mountain ridge, swaths of light flow up to the right, illuminating and redeeming the village in the hollow. Eleven stars, with dark cores and bright halos have conquered the sky. At the very bottom, the bright evening star, in the top right the growing crescent of the moon at eye level with the stars. The sky had never been painted in this way before! On the one hand, full of clear movement and on the other in an almost mystical eternal show.

The whole of nature lives, breathes and sways with life. Shrubs race against the higher hill, the treetops sway in the wind. The picture is to be felt diagonally, from the bottom left and the darkness - to the top right, into the delicate light. It is night in the soul of the painter; he is painting on the cusp of death. But his heart beats in pulse, it vibrates and gives birth to a new dream of heaven and beyond.


The village, consisting of only a few houses set amid fields shimmering in the night, is safeguarded by a church. A cross-shaped floor plan and pointed tower - either from memory or one of the painter's dreams.  There is still light in some of the windows, therefore it is somewhere between dinnertime and bedtime. An emotionally important moment! Goethe's Wanderer's Nightsong "… Wait, soon like these thou too shalt rest."!  The idyll of the village keeps the storm of the celestial spheres in check. My meditation begins in this village, in one of the houses, on the edge of the bed, shortly before and shortly thereafter.  I have time, I am calm, safe and at home.


The cypresses - they have been growing upward from below for centuries. Rawness and rustling, danger foreseen, the alders' king of the spirit world. Firmly rooted in the eternal earth, supporting the trunk and branches like bones, the crown flaming and flickering up into the night sky. So it is and so it shall ever be! A sky full of life, the blue mountains in the distance, the suggested greenery of the cypresses and the fields - and golden sun in the house and in the heart.


My advice for you:
Click the interactive animation which is offered under the link:


Though it is only a play with a lot of technology,
however, it lets assume to us the brushstrokes and dreams of van Gogh.




Don McLean - Vincent

“Starry, starry night
paint your palette blue and gray
look out on a summer’s day
with eyes that know the darkness in my soulvan Goh cypresse
shadows on the hills
sketch the trees and the daffodils
catch the breeze and the winter chills
in colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they did not know how
perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
flaming flowers that brightly blaze
swirling clouds in violet haze
reflecting Vincent’s eyes of China blue
colors changing hue
morning fields of amber grain
weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hands

Now I understand
what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they did not know how
perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
but still your love was true
and when no hope was left in sight
on that starry, starry night
you took your life as lovers often do
but I could have told you Vincent
this world was never meant for one as
beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
portraits hung in empty halls
frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes that watch the world and can’t forget
like the strangers that you’ve met
the ragged men in ragged clothes                                    
Vincent van Gogh
a silver thorn on a bloody rose                                          Wheat-Field-with-Cypresses
lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow                         (1889,  detail)

Now I think I know
what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free
they would not listen they’re not listening still
perhaps they never will”.