Van Gogh Swirls

Just saying the word “Van Gogh” and the image of a swirling sky, his iconic The Starry Night, comes to mind.

when was born 163 years ago today, and this famous painting was completed when he was 30 years old.  He had checked himself into the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence because of a mental breakdown.  While he was there, he wrote in a letter to his brother Theo, “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.”

The oil painting on canvas is 29in X 36 1/4 in, a little larger than the average school poster board. The Starry Night hangs in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, and seeing it up close in real life is different from seeing a reproduction on paper.

The thick paint with furrowed swirls reveal the intensity of the pressure in each of Van Gogh’s strokes. These swirls are hypnotic up close, just as hypnotic as the interactive app below:

With or without the animation, the painting conveys a powerful energy that the viewer cannot forget.